NZDSA Covid-19 Bulletin Update
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The NZDSA focus for the COVID-19 Bulletin is to sift through all the information about COVID-19 and then collate and share information that is most pertinent to the Down syndrome community. 

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  • Over 99% of people with COVID-19 are safely self-isolating in the community.

  • For most people, Omicron will be similar to that of a cold and can be easily managed at home with over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

  • Information on how self-manage COVID-19 is available online. The services of General Practices and Telehealth providers should be reserved for those unable to access these online resources.  

  • General Practices are working to proactively identify those who are at higher risk. 

  • People are encouraged to report a positive test through the My Covid Record website. Positive cases will then be sent a text message with a link to an online assistance form. This information will be provided to local care coordination hubs to quickly identify what needs people may have.


Luka needed a RAT test to go on his Spirit of Adventure trip and he has made a YouTube clip about it. 

He thought it could be handy for people to see how it works!

Watch here

There are changes to how we test, and who should get a test. 

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs) will become the primary form of testing. Millions of RATs have been distributed around the country to testing sites, GPs, pharmacies and within workplaces. 
  • People can now access a RAT from hundreds of locations around the country.  Locations with RATs available can be found on the HealthPoint website. Find a COVID-19 testing site: COVID-19 Testing | HealthPoint  
  • Supervised RATs testing for disabled people will be provided by selected community and disability health providers. Locations offering supervised RATs for priority populations can be found on the HealthPoint website: Supervised RATs testing locations for priority populations | Healthpoint 
  • PCR testing will be reserved for people where it’s clinically indicated they need it.  A PCR test will no longer be required to verify a positive RAT result. 

Approved RATs will soon be able to be sold to the public through retail outlets.  This will provide choice and access for the general public and small businesses. 

If you have symptoms and are unsure if you need a test, check out the handy decision flow chart in the attached testing guidance.

Simple instructions explaining how to do a RATs test and report your results, are attached.

How to order a RAT online:  

  • Requesting RATs on the Requester site is an easy step-by-step process. RATs can be requested on behalf of someone else. 

  • You can order the test kits from the website or by ringing 0800 222 478 (option 3) from 8am to 8pm. People will need to have access to a mobile phone to validate their order.  

  • You will be issued an order number. You can then collect your RAT order from a collection site listed on Healthpoint, or have someone collect it for you. 

  • For people are not unwell or a household contact but want to get a RAT for other purposes, such as to visit an elderly relative, there are retail options now, including the Chemist Warehouse and Countdown.

Testing Guidance

New Zealand is moving to greater self-management for contact notification.

  • Self-management will include a new self-investigation tool to support people with COVID-19 to self-notify contacts.  Because only household contacts are required to isolate, the tool will assist tracking of high-risk exposure events or locations. 
  • Contact tracing teams will now focus on identifying and tracing those who have visited high-risk locations, such as hospitals or aged care facilities. 
  • There will be continued support for those members of our community who are not digitally set up, those who identify as disabled, and those with welfare needs. 
What type of contact are you? Find out by answering a few simple questions online : What type of contact are you? | Or, you can view  a visual flowchart, here: What type of contact are you – Decision flowchart | 

With COVID-19 in the community, it is possible someone in your household might become ill with COVID. Find out a few tips for understanding what that means and how to prepare your family/whānau.

Read Here

Preparation and supporting one another will be key. People with disabilities and their households need to prepare in case they or a member of their household or their care support network is affected by COVID-19. 

The first step in planning is to prepare for self-isolating at home. Visit Prepare for COVID-19 | and use the COVID-19 Readiness Checklist to formulate a household plan: COVID-19 Readiness Checklist |

It is also important that anyone who is care dependent has a written care plan in place so that if their carer becomes unwell and emergency alternate care is required, the care plan can easily be shared with a new carer.  This will help enable the safe continuity of care, regardless of the carer or the care setting.  Care plans could be developed with the person’s Care Provider or people with disabilities and their families can use the excellent Emergency Care Planning tools available on the Carers NZ website: Emergency Care Planning tools |  
Emergency Care Planning Tools
All the information on what to do, and how to get assistance if you test positive for, or are exposed to COVID-19, is on the COVID-19 Health Hub: COVID Health Hub |

Some people, including disabled people and their whānau, will have additional support requirements if exposed to COVID-19. Please be assured that support is available for people based on their individual needs.

  • In addition to the information available at – if people are concerned about their health, or that of their family – they can call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.  
  • If urgent medical help is needed, call 111 and tell them you have COVID-19.  
  • If people are COVID positive and they or their household need support getting essentials such as food or medicine, they can call 0800 512 337 for welfare support. 
Covid Health Hub
Testing Positive for Covid-19 Handout

There are 3 major changes to how we will manage this phase of the Omicron response. 

Changes to Isolation 

  • Only confirmed cases and their household contacts are required to isolate. 
  •  All other contacts are now asked to monitor symptoms but do not have to isolate. 
  • Confirmed cases and household contacts should isolate for 10 days but can now self-release after day 10, providing provided they have no new or worsening symptoms and meet any testing requirements. 
  • The Critical Worker Exemption Scheme announced this month will enable eligible household contacts to return to work during their isolation periods by returning a daily negative rapid antigen test. 

To learn more about Isolation and care, including how to self-isolate at home, visit: Isolation and care |   
Learn more


  • You can find a wide variety of COVID-19 information in 27 languages and 4 alternate formats on the Unite Against COVID-19 website. Key information includes: 

  • We will continue to update our translated information as the situation develops. 


Posters and resources

  • Examples of the resources we have available are below, these can be downloaded through our online platform, Toolkit (COVID-19 Resource Toolkit ( These have also been translated into 27 languages, which can be found here


A new team has been established within the COVID vaccination healthline, in response to feedback from the disability sector on barriers to accessing vaccination information and booking support.

In its first two weeks, the 30-strong team has supported more than 440 disabled people.

“As part of our plan to give every eligible person the opportunity to get vaccinated by the end of the year, we are ensuring it is both easy and accessible for everyone, including disabled people,” COVID response minister Chris Hipkins said.

To access the team, people can call the free COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26, between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and ‘push 2’ to speak to the team.

The team is made up of dedicated advisors who are either living with disability themselves, have close whānau living with disability or, in a few cases, have extensive experience working with members of the disability community. Advisors work from home across Aotearoa, and recruitment is underway to further expand the workforce.

The team support disabled people and their carers to get information about the vaccine, make bookings (including support identifying suitable sites or liaising with sites to ensure that needs can be met), and supporting transport needs. Transport has been one of the things that has been identified as a barrier to vaccination for many disabled people.

In the first week examples of support being arranged included ensuring sites have mobility assistance in place, arranging NZ Sign Language interpreters, rearranging transport options after initial transport options became unavailable, 1737 counsellors being arranged to support people with anxiety, and other tailored solutions developed for people in conjunction with District Health Boards.

The team is able to support all those that identify as having a disability including: 

  • Deaf and hard of hearing

  • Blind and low vision

  • Physically disability

  • Intellectually disability

  • Neuro diverse

  • Long term health conditions.

  • The pathway is a collaboration between WorkBridge, Capital and Coast DHB, and Whakarongorau Aotearoa – New Zealand Telehealth Services.


If you missed the highly informative sessions on the 29th August and September 8th you can watch the recording and access links to additional resources

For more information on the Covid Vaccination, 
click here

View August 29th Session here
View September 8th Session here
Additional Information Referred to
  • The framework has three levels: Green, Orange and Red: 

    • Green is when there could be some COVID-19 in the community but at low levels. At Green, fully vaccinated people can enjoy all events, hospitality and gatherings by showing a vaccination certificate.

    • Orange is when there is increasing community transmission with increasing pressure on the health system. At Orange, everything remains open for people with vaccination certificates. 

    • Red is when the virus is spreading in a way that means there’s a need to take action to protect vulnerable people in a community and prevent pressure on the health system. At Red, there will be additional restrictions, but these will be greater for people without a vaccination certificate.

  • Businesses that provide services only to vaccinated people can operate at every level of the new framework and without any restrictions at Green and Orange.

More information
Read Covid-19 Protection Framework Powerpoint
New COVID-19 Protection Framework delivers greater freedoms for vaccinated New Zealanders
Read FAQ's

Here are a number of videos where experts answer questions about the vaccine: 

  • Nigel Latta, Dr Maia Brewerton and Dr Helen Petousis-Harris recently answered vaccine questions in a Facebook live event with the support of a sign language interpreter (60:02).  

  • Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Dr Nikki Turner, Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Dr Vanisi Prescott recently answered vaccine questions in a Facebook live event. (56:43)

  • Mihingarangi Forbes sat down with Dr Hinemoa Elder to discuss some key concerns and hesitancies (59:00)  

  • On Te Ao with Moana COVID-19 Vax Q&A (25:11) Dr Anthony Jordan, Dr Papaarangi Reid, Dr Rawiri McKree-Jansen, Dr Maia Brewerton - specialists & activists in Māori public health, clinical immunology, allergies, immunopathology & medicine take phone calls from the Public about COVID and the vaccine.

  • Clinical psychologist Rachel Prebble talks about vaccine hesitancy (1:10) and has some ideas for starting a conversations (2:15) with friends and whanau.      

  • A fun and informative item on the Hahana Facebook page with answers to lots of vaccine questions: (11:43)

  • AUT’s Professor Steve Henry, a biological engineer currently working in the field of COVID-19 immunity, considers Should I get vaccinated? (39:03)

  • A rangatahi panel with Dr Jason Tuhoe, to kōrero about the vaccine from different perspectives (vaccinated, vaccine hesitant, wants to be vaccinated but whānau pressure not to): Waatea News on Te Puni Kokiri Facebook page (60:01)

  • Here’s a discussion between four health professionals where they share their thoughts, knowledge and experiences of the COVID vaccine in Straight Up with Dr. Lily Fraser - The Panel (3:53)

  • Learn about the COVID-19 pandemic, getting vaccinated, and what the future holds for Aotearoa New Zealand. Watch a series of seven NZ Vaccine Facts videos (with one more coming soon). 

Here are some recent articles about the vaccine: 


Face coverings are unsuitable for some people due to a disability or health condition. An exemption card has been developed that you can show when entering shops and other premises. 

Exemption cards can be requested from the Disabled Persons Assembly NZ by contacting them on 04 801 9100 or emailing them at

Preparing for your Covid 19 Vaccine
Free support for decision making for covid-19 vaccine
Here are the links to the easy read information about where to get food and other COVID-19 resources. Please share with your networks.
Easy Read Information
Omnicron Variant Easy Read
NZDSA COVID-19 Updates
Don't forget to check our website regularly to ensure you are up to date with the latest news on COVID-19, and how it affects you.

We will also be sending updates via email, so make sure to keep an eye out for COVID updates from us.

Click Here For The Latest From Our Website
We want to acknowledge celebrations, everyday achievements, exciting milestones and tributes for people with Down syndrome in New Zealand. Please send us a photo and details such as name and age (if appropriate).  We would always welcome you including a short story/paragraph. Please email We’d love to share these stories via our NZDSA e-news and on our Facebook page.


Would you like to become a NZDSA Member? Becoming a member entitles you to receive the quarterly NZDSA Journal, resources and self-advocates have the opportunity to attend camps. For more information or to become a member email Rose at or visit our website


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
Through the NZDSA e-news the New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) will attempt to report items of interest relating to Down syndrome. The NZDSA does not promote or recommend any therapy, treatment, agency, product, political position, religion or advice. The opinions expressed in items featured in our NZDSA e-news are not necessarily those of the NZDSA.

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New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) · P O Box 4142 · Auckland, AK 1140 · New Zealand