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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/interventions/talking-to-tamariki-whanau-or-family-and-caregivers-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/
Printed: 14/06/2024
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Last updated: 31/05/2024

Talking with tamariki, whānau or family and caregivers about the COVID-19 vaccine

This guidance supports kaimahi who work directly with tamariki and rangatahi and their whānau or family and caregivers to help them to have conversations about vaccination against COVID-19.

Updates made to this guidance

This guidance has been updated to align with the latest information from Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora.

Information about the vaccine and why it's important

Vaccination not only reduces the likelihood and severity of illness from COVID-19, but also reduces the transmission rate of the virus. This means that people who are vaccinated are less likely to pass on the virus to other people, including tamariki or rangatahi and caregivers who cannot be vaccinated.

Vaccination is a way we can whakamana and empower each other. We want tamariki, rangatahi, whānau or family and caregivers to be well, to have access to good-quality information and to experience oranga motuhake.

Our role is to talk with tamariki, rangatahi and whānau or family about the importance of vaccination, supporting people to access factual information, including the benefits and known risks, and offering support and assistance for people to access vaccination.

For tamariki and rangatahi in the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki, it is important that we speak with parents and other guardians about vaccination for their tamaiti or rangatahi.

How many COVID-19 vaccines to get and when | Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora (this webpage is available in other languages and formats)

If we are working with a disabled tamaiti or rangatahi, parent or guardian, we can talk to a trained advisor in the Healthline disability team about getting COVID-19 vaccinations. The disability team is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm:

Speaking with tamariki, rangatahi, whānau, family and caregivers about vaccination

Speaking with tamariki and rangatahi

It is important to speak with tamariki and rangatahi about COVID-19 vaccination in a way that is appropriate for their age, culture and stage of development.

For some tamariki and rangatahi, this may be the first vaccination they remember, and they may be anxious about it. We should assure them that feeling worried is normal and reiterate the safety and importance of getting the vaccine. It could be helpful to talk through any details if known, such as time and place and who will be there to support them (such as a caregiver, nurse or whānau or family member). There are some great resources that help explain the vaccination:

COVID-19 immunisation in children | KidsHealth

Speaking with whānau or family

Some whānau or family may have already been vaccinated, while others may have doubts or apprehension about getting vaccinated. They may be worried about their tamariki or rangatahi being vaccinated or not being able to be vaccinated. They may also be concerned about their tamariki or rangatahi living with vaccinated or non-vaccinated caregivers. We need to work with whānau or family to access reliable information about the COVID-19 vaccine and listen to any concerns they have.

We may also need to explain that rangatahi can make these decisions for themselves even if it goes against views held by whānau or family members.

Role of caregivers

It's important that caregivers are aware that consent is a guardianship right and they cannot consent to the vaccination of a tamaiti or rangatahi they are caring for on behalf of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive. Speak with caregivers about the steps we are taking to promote vaccination for te tamaiti or rangatahi in their care and keep them informed of the outcome.

If the caregiver for te tamaiti or rangatahi is also a legal guardian, they still need to seek the consent of the other guardians before a vaccine can be given.

Type of COVID-19 vaccines, doses and boosters will vary by age of tamariki and rangatahi

The type of vaccine and doses/boosters that tamariki and rangatahi are eligible for will vary by their age. Updated advice is available on the Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora website:

COVID-19 vaccines | Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora

Further advice on eligibility can be accessed through the Ministry of Health helpline.

Phone: 0800 28 29 26

If whānau or family need support to be vaccinated themselves, ask how we can assist them (for example, transport or explore the possibility of them being vaccinated at the same time as their tamariki and rangatahi). We provide specific information about where and when whānau or family can be vaccinated in the community. Explore familiar environments and people who whānau or family trust.

Book My Vaccine | Health New Zealand Te Whatu Ora

Keeping others informed

Where there are multiple kaimahi working directly with tamariki, rangatahi, whānau or family, such as in a residence, we should consult with each other and keep everyone informed about the conversations we have been having, sharing the views where appropriate and with consent. This will minimise tamariki, rangatahi, whānau or family having to have multiple conversations about the same thing.


We record in a CYRAS casenote conversations we have had, including people’s views and decisions that have been made. We include the words COVID-19 vaccination in the casenote header and clearly record whether consent has been given by guardians.

Update the All About Me plan for te tamaiti or rangatahi, including if te tamaiti or rangatahi has been vaccinated or has chosen not to be vaccinated.