Counties Manukau Health Consultant Nephrologist, Dr Hari Talreja is doing everything he can to dispel myths about the Covid-19 vaccine by sharing information in Hindi for Auckland’s Indian community.

With eight years’ experience at Counties Manukau Health and previous international experience in Canada, Dr Talreja cares for patients with kidney disease and renal transplantation – which puts them at a higher risk of developing complications from Covid-19.

“Therefore, as a nephrologist, I have been advocating my patients to get vaccinated,” Dr Talreja said.

To expedite this, he and his colleagues have been working with vaccinators to get them to the dialysis units so patients can be vaccinated in one go.

Dr Talreja not only works with his own patients, but has been helping to educate members of the wider Indian community.

“I have been sharing information about the Covid vaccine, busting myths about it and addressing the concerns that people have raised.

“I do weekly radio programs on Apna Radio and have also been doing videos in Hindi about the vaccine roll out.”

Dr Talreja said for most part many people he comes across have been keen to get vaccinated.

“They seem to understand the risks associated with the infection, and the importance of vaccination.

“Having said that, there are some myths about Covid-19 vaccines in some, which we have tried to address and bust.

“One of the main concerns people have is the risk of side effects, understandably so. But for most part, it is due to misinformation because of unreliable and unverified information sources.

“I address these by providing them actual information about the vaccine and directing them to reliable information sources.

“A few in our community were a bit reluctant to get vaccinated. However, I see this changing now.”

Dr Talreja said what he is most impressed about is how the community is supporting each other.

 “Some volunteers are doing groceries for older members of the community for whom it has been difficult to get out during lockdown and the local temples have been providing ready meals to the needy.

“From little gestures to big, it is heartening to see people coming forward to help others.”

Q&As

How do I book a vaccination in my language?

If you call the COVID Vaccine Healthline (0800 28 29 26) to book your vaccine, the team can arrange to talk with you in your language. When your call is answered, say you would like an interpreter and the language you would like to speak in. 

You can also download a how to book your vaccine guide translated into 39 languages here

Do I need an NHI number to make a vaccination booking?

When booking your vaccination, it is a good idea to have your national health number (NHI) ready to make the booking process quicker, but it is not essential to provide one. You will find your number on a prescription, x-ray or test result, or a letter from the hospital. 

Do I need to show identification? And will my details be disclosed to immigration?

You may be asked to produce identification to make sure that we have correctly recorded your details.  We will not ask for proof of visa status.

To have the vaccine, we need to collect people’s information and record it on the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR), because it is the clinical record of immunisation. It cannot be accessed by immigration.  

By law, all health services are required to keep complete and accurate records. Only those people managing this vaccine programme can see, add, or change the information held in the CIR. 

Where can I get a COVID-19 Vaccination?

You can make a vaccination booking at one of our community vaccination centres and selected general practices (GP) and pharmacies.

For a list of vaccination locations click here

Where can I get translated information? 

COVID-19 vaccination information is available in 39 different languages. This includes information about booking an appointment, what to expect, travel restrictions and more and they are available here

Who can get the vaccine?

Everyone in New Zealand (over 12 years) can receive their COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of visa status.  Everyone means everyone on New Zealand soil - this means international students and foreign workers.

If you have an underlying health condition, you’re more at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. We highly recommend that you have the vaccine. The vaccine is highly effective and does not interact with medications. 

The vaccine is safe in pregnancy, and we encourage you to get the vaccine if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. 

If you are concerned about the vaccine, please talk to your GP or call Healthline on 0800 26 28 29.

About the vaccine

The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective- and it’s free. People need two doses of the vaccine, the second will be given at least 21 days after the first.

The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19. 

If you have had two doses of a vaccine overseas, you are considered fully vaccinated.

Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. These are usually mild and don’t last long. 

The Pfizer vaccine has been thoroughly assessed for safety by our own Medsafe experts. Medsafe only grants consent for using a vaccine in New Zealand, once they’re satisfied it has met strict standards for safety, efficacy and quality.

Trusted information

When looking for information ask yourself where the information is coming from, and what the author wants you to believe.  Just because an article looks good or reads well does not mean the quality of the information in it is reliable.

COVID-19 vaccination information is available in 39 different languages. This includes information about booking an appointment, what to expect, travel restrictions and more and they are available here