This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Official Information request 'Blood Doners'.

133 Molesworth 
Street 
21 June 2021
PO Box 5013 
Wellington 6140 
New Zealand 
T+64 4 496 2000 
Darren-Edward 
By email: 
[FYI request #15690 email] 
Ref:  
H202106871 
Dear Darren-Edward 
Response to your request for official information 
Thank you for your two requests under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act) to the 
Ministry of Health (the Ministry) on 6 June 2021 for information regarding the COVID-19 
vaccine and blood donations.  
The Ministry has decided to consolidate your two requests into a single response. 
Information in response to each part of your request has been provided by the New Zealand 
Blood Service (NZBS).  
“Confirmation regarding people that have received any experimental vaccine; or 
medical treatment with any medicines relating to the treatment of COVID19; advise if 
these people have been restricted from giving blood donations; provide date of when 
restrictions where introduced.” 
“Confirmation of restrictions of anyone to donate blood once they have received any 
experimental vaccine for COVID19.” 

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by Medsafe for use in New Zealand under section 23 
of the Medicines Act 1981. NZBS advises that like other non-live vaccines, it asks donors to 
delay donation until any side effects from the vaccine have been resolved. If a donor has 
had a vaccine that has not been approved by Medsafe for use in New Zealand, NZBS has a 
standard 28 day stand down. This deferral has been in place since 16 February 2021. There 
is more information about this on the NZBS website at: www.nzblood.co.nz/knowledge-
hub/covid-19/covid-19-vaccines/. 
NZBS advises that it is not aware of any trials of experimental drugs or vaccines being 
undertaken in New Zealand. If a donor is enrolled in a clinical drug trial using a drug not 
accepted by Medsafe, they are asked to delay donation for three months. 
“Confirmation regarding people that have received any experimental vaccine; or 
medical treatment with any medicines relating to COVID19; and have donated blood.” 
“Number of people with experimental vaccine that have donated blood.” 
“Number of people that have received other such medical treatment that have donated 
blood.” 
“Confirmation of people that have received any experimental vaccine for COVID19 that 
have donated blood.” 

NZBS advises that it does not collate data on every vaccine or medication that a donor may 
have taken, unless it falls within one of the NZBS’ deferral criteria to delay donation. Nor has 
it deferred any donors for any COVID-19 vaccination that has not been approved for use in 

New Zealand. For this reason, these parts of your request are refused under section 18(g)(i) 
of the Act, as it is not held by the Ministry or another agency subject to the Act. 
“Request for any and all reports into the safety of blood donors that give blood after 
having any medicines or vaccines related to the COVID19 Virus.” 
“Request for any and all reports relating to the potential impact of anyone that is not 
yet received the experimental vaccine, and they receive blood from a donor that has 
had the experimental vaccines or medicines approved for the treatment of the 
COVID19 Virus.” 
“Require any and reports regarding the safety of anyone not yet vaccinated that 
receives a blood donation from anyone already vaccinated and the potential impact of 
anyone receiving blood from someone already vaccinated for COVID19.” 

NZBS advises that it is not aware of any reports in the scientific and clinical literature that 
suggest any risk to blood recipients following the administration of non-live vaccines against 
COVID-19, such as the Pfizer vaccine. The major blood provider organisations worldwide 
have not identified any blood safety risks related to the most used non-live vaccines. For this 
reason, these parts of your request are refused under section 18(g)(i) of the Act, as the 
information is not held by the Ministry or another agency subject to the Act. 
NZBS applies deferrals for any donors that have been treated for COVID-19 (or those at risk 
through travel or contact with a person with suspected infection). NZBS has asked 260 
donors to delay donation for 28 days following COVID-19 infection. NZBS does not collate 
information about any medications these individuals were treated with at the time of their 
infection. 
“Confirmation of people that have received any blood donation from anyone that has 
had experimental vaccine for COVID19; their current condition if known, if not known 
why is this not being observed by the Ministry of Health as a potential medical 
situation.” 

NZBS advises that it only routinely collates data regarding any recent medications or 
vaccinations that lead to a donor being asked to delay donation. In the case of COVID-19 
vaccines, this would apply to donors receiving any vaccine not accepted for use in New 
Zealand, within 28 days before donation. This is in line with NZBS processes for all other 
vaccines and medications.  
The safety of New Zealand’s blood and blood product supply is always a priority and NZBS 
defer donors when there is evidence that a drug or condition may negatively affect the 
quality of the blood transfused. 
NZBS has advised the Ministry that it does not document details of every medication or 
vaccination ever received by donors because this information would be highly complex and 
would not help NZBS to understand the safety of the donor to donate on any specific day. 
NZBS processes focus on whether a donor may be at risk of any infection that might be 
passed to recipients, whether any medications may cause blood transfusions to work less 
effectively or are known to be unsafe for recipients or might impact the tests that we use to 
exclude infections. NZBS processes also help to avoid donation for those potential donors 
whose health may be adversely affected by giving blood (e.g., low iron stores or chronic ill 
health).   
“Require information regarding how long the vaccine lives in the body of anyone 
vaccinated and how long it may take before it would be safe for anyone unvaccinated 
to receive safely from someone that has been vaccinated for COVID19.” 

Page 2 of 3 


The Pfizer vaccine in use is not a live virus and cannot cause infection or live in the body. 
The vaccine has an exceptionally good safety profile and has been well studied 
internationally. There is more information at: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-
conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccines/covid-19-vaccine-safety-and-
approval. You may also want to review the PubMed website of the National Library of 
Medicine, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. PubMed: 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33301246/.   
I trust this information fulfils your request. Under section 28(3) of the Act you have the right 
to ask the Ombudsman to review any decisions made under this request. The Ombudsman 
may be contacted by email at: [email address] or by calling 0800 802 602. 
Please note that this response, with your personal details removed, may be published on the 
Ministry website at: www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/information-releases/responses-
official-information-act-requests.  
Yours sincerely 
Nick Allan 
Manager OIA Services 
Office of the Director-General 

Page 3 of 3