Undue pressure to have a Covid 19 vaccination

M.R.M. made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

The request was partially successful.

From: M.R.M.

Dear Ministry of Health,

My wife does not own a mobile. When she has needed to provide a mobile address she has used my mobile number. This has always been with my permission, on the basis of it being the exception, not the rule, and only in a handful of instances.

Yesterday afternoon, Sunday 19 September 2021, I received a telephone call from 0800 28 29 26 (http://bit.ly/vaccinfo)
The caller did not introduce themselves to me but did say they were calling from the Ministry of Health and asked to speak with my wife (by name). I handed my mobile to her and the caller again did not introduce themselves but asked my wife if she wants to have the Covid 19 vaccination. My wife replied "no". She was then asked "is there a reason for this decision?" My wife replied "I don't have to give you a reason." The caller then said "oh, okay then" and ended the call.

The only persons related to the health industry in N.Z. that my wife has given my mobile number to is a) the medical clinic where our family G.P. works from, and b) the Waikato District Health Board (Waikato Hospital). Neither of them were given my mobile number for the purpose of calling me or my wife regarding Covid 19 or Covid 19 vaccinations.

My wife and I feel and believe that the Ministry of Health's abovementioned call placed her under undue pressure to have the Covid 19 vaccination. She is 64 years old and she, like every New Zealander, has read and heard the litany of messages that have played out across a variety of media for months now advising about how to get a Covid 19 vaccination, where, when, etc. If she wanted to have a Covid 19 vaccination she knew exactly how to respond, and, the fact that she has not done that did not give the Ministry of Health, or any other government department, a right to call my wife and question whether she wants a Covid 19 vaccination!!!

Principle 10 of the Privacy Act stipulates that personal information provided for one purpose cannot be used for another purpose. My wife and I very strongly believe that her and my privacy rights were breached by the misuse of my mobile number for a purpose not intended when my wife provided the abovementioned organisations with my mobile number. In fact, when my wife gave my mobile number to them there was no Covid 19 so it cannot possibly be argued that the purpose for which the information was to be used is directly related to the purpose in connection with which the information was obtained.

On behalf of my wife, and with her knowledge and authority, I am requesting that your department provide a full explanation as to why my mobile number was used to call my wife, why my wife was placed under undue pressure to have a Covid 19 vaccination through and during that call, and, why my wife was asked to explain her reason for saying "no" to a Covid 19 vaccination when health information is THE most confidential of personal information and no-one has any right to ask anyone else for an explanation for making a decision that they are fully entitled and have every legal right to make.

Yours faithfully,


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From: OIA Requests

Kia ora,
Thank you for your email. Your query has been passed on to the COVID-19
Privacy team for a response.
You can expect a response from the team directly in due course.
Ngā mihi
OIA Services
Government Services
Office of the Director-General
Ministry of Health
E: [email address]

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From: COVID-19 Privacy

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Kia ora M.R.M.

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Ministry of Health on 20
September 2021.

It is important that everyone in New Zealand is given the opportunity to
be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is your choice whether to make the
appointment or not. For us to invite individuals to receive a vaccination,
we used personal information collected by us in our role as the Ministry
of Health.

The Ministry of Health prepares an annual Health Service Utilisation (HSU)
dataset for all individuals who have used the New Zealand health system
within the last two years. The HSU also includes the National Enrolment
Service (NES) which has information (like your basic contact details) from
everyone who has enrolled with a general practitioner.

We use this information to create a list of the physical addresses held on
our NHI database to send a letter to you when you become eligible for your
COVID-19 vaccination.  We also use this to identify other contact details
like your phone number or email address. In this instance, as your mobile
phone number is recorded against your wife’s NES information, attempts
were made to contact her through it to invite her to receive a

Please note the Ministry of Health does not have access to information
about why an individual interacted with the health system or any clinical
information about individuals from these sources.

Whenever we collect your information, we have to let you know why we need
it. This is communicated in the [1]Use of Health Information
Statement that should be available to you as part of the enrolment
process. Your information may be collected:

·   to keep you and others safe

·   to plan and fund health services

·   to carry out authorised research

·   to train health care professionals

·   to prepare and publish statistics

·   to improve government services.

Using the NES contact details to offer you a vaccine complies with the
requirements under the Privacy Act 2020 and the Health Information Privacy
Code 2020. We use the information consistently with the purpose for which
it was collected: Keeping you and others safe.

The Ministry of Health consulted with the Offices of the Privacy
Commissioner and the Government Chief Privacy Officer who provided advice
to help us to identify and mitigate privacy risks.

Individuals that do not want to receive any further correspondence via
addressed mail, SMS or email from the Ministry of Health in relation to
COVID-19 vaccinations can contact the COVID-19 Risk and Privacy team. The
email address for the COVID-19 Risk and Privacy team can be found in the
‘;Contact Us’ section of this webpage:
We require individuals to provide their full name and National Health
Index (NHI) number or date of birth when they request to opt out of any
further correspondence. This is required so their profile can be
accurately identified in the COVID Immunisation Register (CIR).

The COVID Vaccination Helpline (0800 28 29 26) is run by Whakarongorau
Aotearoa. When an individual indicates that they have chosen not to be
vaccinated, the caller asks why to ensure support can be provided to
people to help them overcome barriers to vaccination if they are declining
to be vaccinated for a reason that we can help them resolve. For example,
we help people with accessing convenient vaccination sites, transport and
by providing them with information. We appreciate that questioning can
feel like pressure but that is not the intention. 


If your wife would like to provide feedback about the service provided by
Whakarongorau to her on 19 September 2021, it can be made here:



Ngâ mihi 

COVID-19 Risk and Privacy

COVID-19 Health System Response

Manatû Hauora l Ministry of Health l  

Email: [4][email address]




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