Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Returning Kiwis struggle to get their overseas vaccinations recorded in NZ

Kiwis moving back home after having had their vaccination overseas are being told they cannot get their vaccinations on health records here.

A couple who were vaccinated in the US said they tried to register with health authorities here, but were told there was no way to independently verify their overseas vaccinations.

Now they are left wondering what would happen to them when vaccination certificates are needed to move around when New Zealand gets to the traffic light system.

Another who just returned from Singapore, where he has not only received the double vaccinations but also the booster, said he was advised to get further vaccinations in New Zealand in order to get his vaccinations recorded.

“If I followed that advice, it means I would have had five Covid-19 vaccination jabs and is that even safe?” asked the man, who did not want to be identified.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said people who had been vaccinated overseas and wondering about their protection are advised to have a discussion with their health provider, who can get advice from the Immunisation Advisory Group (IMAC) if necessary.

He would not say if the ministry considered it safe for people to get multiple vaccinations beyond just the two as recommended in New Zealand.

“Details on how people can get their overseas administered vaccinations recognised and recorded in the Covid-19 Immunisation Register will be made available soon,” he said.

“This will include guidance on who may require an additional vaccination to be considered fully vaccinated for New Zealand contexts.”

The spokesman said the ministry was aware that many returning New Zealanders may have received their vaccinations overseas as Covid-19 vaccination programmes roll out globally.

“We understand that many people are keen for the vaccinations to be entered into their personal health record and be recognised in the national vaccination tally, and that some are asking about whether they may be able to be issued with a New Zealand Covid-19 vaccination certificate for international travel, or the domestic vaccination certificate, when these becomes available later this month,” he said.

“There are a number of issues to work through to determine how overseas Covid-19 vaccination can be recorded in New Zealand’s Covid-19 Immunisation Register. This includes what form of proof of prior vaccination would be required, who would check that documentation, who would enter it into the CIR, and what the policy rules will be for who is eligible for a New Zealand-issued COVID-19 vaccination certificate.”

According to the Ministry of Health vaccine data, just 34 per cent of those from overseas have had their first vaccination and 31 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The spokesman said ministry officials are working through these issues and decisions on the appropriate policies and processes will be made in due course.

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