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Revisions to COVID-19 position statement on pre-consultation testing

ASE made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

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From: ASE

Dear Ministry of Health,

On 19 Nov 2021, The Ministry of Health released ​a COVID-19 "Ministry of Health position statement on pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings".

Several days later, that position statement was revised, dated 25 Nov, and marked as version 2.0, with a slightly different title, "Ministry of Health position statement on routine pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings".

Among the changes between these two versions of the position statement, the earlier version, but not the updated version, stated:

"The absolute risk of transmission will be highly dependent upon the prevalence of disease in the community.

"When the rate of community spread is zero or very low, the risk of transmission from any consultation will be very low, unless a person is known to be at higher risk because they are symptomatic or a close contact of a confirmed case. [bold in the original]

"In addition, in this situation the difference in the risk of transmission between vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be negligible. When the prevalence of disease in the community is high, the risk of transmission from any individual is not negligible and is likely to warrant application of mitigations for all consultations.

"When there is high COVID-19 vaccine coverage (i.e., above 80 percent of eligible people are fully vaccinated), transmission is more likely to occur from a vaccinated than an unvaccinated individual." [bold in the original]

And, "Vaccination status is one of many risk factors for infection and transmission. There is currently no evidence that the application of an alternative pathway based solely on vaccination status, or the routine incorporation of unvaccinated asymptomatic individuals into a high-risk pathway is justified."

And, "Asymptomatic infection is the issue, not the vaccination status of the patient." [bold, and on its own line in the original; not bold, and not on its own line in version 2.0]

Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between these two documents, and the reasons for all such changes?

Can The Ministry of Health disclose what basis of evidence was used to support its 19 Nov position statement (eg data, research, and other information)? In particular, what basis of evidence was used to substantiate the assertions which were removed or de-emphasised from version 2.0 of this position statement?

Can The Ministry of Health disclose how such changes/revisions to this position statement are beneficial to public health, on the basis of evidence-based public health policies? Or, were such changes based on something other than evidence-based public health policies?

Aside from public health goals, supported by evidence-based risk/benefit and cost/benefit analyses, what other influences led The Ministry of Health to revise this position?

Thank you,
ASE 202111290

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From: OIA Requests

Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your Official Information Act (the Act) request. This is
an automatic reply to let you know we received it.

 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. We
will endeavour to acknowledge your request as soon as possible. Further
information about COVID-19 can be found on our
website: [1]https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...

 

Please be advised that due dates for requests received from 29 November
2021 onwards take into account the following periods:

 

Christmas (25 December 2021)

Summer Holidays (25 December to 15 January)

New Year's Day (1 January 2022)

Day after News Year's Day (2 January 2022)

 

If you'd like to calculate the due date for your request, you can use the
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If you have any questions while we're processing your request, please let
us know via [3][email address]

 

Ngā mihi  

OIA Services Team  

   

[4]Ministry of Health information releases  

[5]Unite against COVID-19 

 

 

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1. https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/dise...
2. http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=15517&a...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministr...
5. https://covid19.govt.nz/

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From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your request for official information. The Ministry's
reference number for your request is: H202116888.

 

Please be advised that due dates for requests received from 29 November
2021 onwards take into account the following periods:

 

Christmas (25 December 2021)

Summer Holidays (25 December to 15 January)

New Year's Day (1 January 2022)

Day after News Year's Day (2 January 2022)

 

Your request has been logged and you can expect a reply no later than 17
January 2022 as required under the Official Information Act 1982.

 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. If
we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we will
notify you of an extension of that time frame.

 

If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.

 

Ngā mihi

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [1][email address]

 

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Kia ora ASE

 

Thank you for your request for official information, received on 29
November 2021 requesting:

 

“Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between these two
documents, and the reasons for all such changes?

 

Can The Ministry of Health disclose what basis of evidence was used to
support its 19 Nov position statement (eg data, research, and other
information)? In particular, what basis of evidence was used to
substantiate the assertions which were removed or de-emphasised from
version 2.0 of this position statement?

 

Can The Ministry of Health disclose how such changes/revisions to this
position statement are beneficial to public health, on the basis of
evidence-based public health policies? Or, were such changes based on
something other than evidence-based public health policies?

 

Aside from public health goals, supported by evidence-based risk/benefit
and cost/benefit analyses, what other influences led The Ministry of
Health to revise this position?”

 

The Ministry of Health has decided to extend the period of time available
to respond to your request under section 15A of the Official Information
Act 1982 (the Act) as further consultation is required.

 

You can now expect a response to your request on, or before, 25 January
2022.

 

You have the right, under section 28 of the Act, to ask the Ombudsman to
review my decision to extend the time available to respond to your
request.

 

Ngâ mihi

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [email address]

 

 

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From: OIA Requests


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Attachment H202116888 response letter.pdf
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Attachment 19 November Position Statement.pdf
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Tēnā koe ASE

 

Please find attched a letter regarding your request for information.

 

Nga mihi,

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [1][email address]

 

 

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: ASE

Attn Ministry of Health

Thank you for that update.

To be clear, does this mean that the content of the 19 Nov position paper (Ministry of Health position statement on pre-consultation testing of unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings) effectively remains the official position of The Ministry of Health? Does this mean that The Ministry of Health maintains that the evidence supports the sections that were removed in the subsequently revised release(s) of this position paper?

"We also became aware of the mis-use of information by those opposed to vaccination by quoting sentences out of context, which the revision has addressed." ― What examples of such misuse of this information are held by The Ministry of Health?

How has The Ministry of Health considered more effective ways of communicating this information so that it could not be taken out of context, rather than simply removing it from subsequently revised releases of this position paper? eg, what meeting notes and emails are associated with these revisions?

Also, please address the earlier questions which were not answered:

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between these two documents, and the reasons for all such changes? [if I understand correctly, there was also a version of this position paper released on 18 Nov 2021; this question should then be revised to ask: Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between all revisions of these documents, and the reasons for all such changes?]

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose what basis of evidence was used to support its 19 Nov position statement (eg data, research, and other information)? In particular, what basis of evidence was used to substantiate the assertions which were removed or de-emphasised from version 2.0 of this position statement?

Thank you,
ASE

Link to this

From: OIA Requests

Thank you for your Official Information Act request. This is
an automatic reply to let you know we received it.

In accordance with the Act, we'll let you know our decision within no more
than 20 working days. If you'd like to calculate the timeframe, you can
use the Ombudsman's online calculator
here: [1]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. This
means we may take some time in responding to your request. The Ministry
regularly updates information about the COVID-19 situation and publishes
OIA responses considered to be of public interest:
[2]https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministr...

Please also refer to the Unite Against Covid-19 website for copies of
papers, minutes, and key advice for the decisions the Government has made
relating to COVID-19.

Sometimes we may need to clarify aspects of a request. You can expect to
hear from us soon if that is the case here.

Ngā mihi,

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [3][email address]

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://scanmail.trustwave.com/?c=15517&a...
2. https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministr...
3. mailto:[email address]

Link to this

From: ASE

Attn Ministry of Health,

In addition to the previous follow up of this request (your reference H202116888),

Please provide the feedback and consultation referred to here: "The statement was revised following feedback from and consultation with healthcare professionals, to ensure the position was clear and to avoid confusion."

Thank you,
ASE

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From: OIA Requests


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Kia ora,

 

Thank you for your follow up request for official information. The
Ministry's reference number for your request is: H202200610.

 

An additional request was for official information received on 26 January
2021 has been consolidated with your request:

 

“Please provide the feedback and consultation referred to here: "The
statement was revised following feedback from and consultation with
healthcare professionals, to ensure the position was clear and to avoid
confusion."

 

As required under the Official Information Act 1982, the Ministry will
endeavour to respond to your request no later than 20 working days after
the day your request was received. If you'd like to calculate the
timeframe, you can use the Ombudsman's online calculator
here: [1]http://www.ombudsman.parliament.nz/

 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic response, the Ministry is experiencing
significantly higher volumes of queries and requests for information. If
we are unable to respond to your request within this time frame, we will
notify you of an extension of that time frame.

 

If you have any queries related to this request, please do not hesitate to
get in touch.

 

Ngā mihi

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [2][email address]

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: ASE <[3][FOI #17762 email]>
Sent: Tuesday, 25 January 2022 18:54
To: OIA Requests <[4][email address]>
Subject: Re: Response to your request for information, ref: H202116888

 

Attn Ministry of Health

Thank you for that update.

To be clear, does this mean that the content of the 19 Nov position paper
(Ministry of Health position statement on pre-consultation testing of
unvaccinated individuals in healthcare settings) effectively remains the
official position of The Ministry of Health? Does this mean that The
Ministry of Health maintains that the evidence supports the sections that
were removed in the subsequently revised release(s) of this position
paper?

"We also became aware of the mis-use of information by those opposed to
vaccination by quoting sentences out of context, which the revision has
addressed." ― What examples of such misuse of this information are held by
The Ministry of Health?

How has The Ministry of Health considered more effective ways of
communicating this information so that it could not be taken out of
context, rather than simply removing it from subsequently revised releases
of this position paper? eg, what meeting notes and emails are associated
with these revisions?

Also, please address the earlier questions which were not answered:

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between these two
documents, and the reasons for all such changes? [if I understand
correctly, there was also a version of this position paper released on 18
Nov 2021; this question should then be revised to ask: Can The Ministry of
Health disclose all changes between all revisions of these documents, and
the reasons for all such changes?]

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose what basis of evidence was used to
support its 19 Nov position statement (eg data, research, and other
information)? In particular, what basis of evidence was used to
substantiate the assertions which were removed or de-emphasised from
version 2.0 of this position statement?

Thank you,
ASE

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: OIA Requests


Attachment image001.jpg
3K Download


Kia ora ASE

Thank you for your request for official information, received on 26
January 2022 requesting:

 

How has The Ministry of Health considered more effective ways of
communicating this information so that it could not be taken out of
context, rather than simply removing it from subsequently revised releases
of this position paper? eg, what meeting notes and emails are associated
with these revisions?

Also, please address the earlier questions which were not answered:

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose all changes between these two
documents, and the reasons for all such changes? [if I understand
correctly, there was also a version of this position paper released on 18
Nov 2021; this question should then be revised to ask: Can The Ministry of
Health disclose all changes between all revisions of these documents, and
the reasons for all such changes?]

• Can The Ministry of Health disclose what basis of evidence was used to
support its 19 Nov position statement (eg data, research, and other
information)? In particular, what basis of evidence was used to
substantiate the assertions which were removed or de-emphasised from
version 2.0 of this position statement?

Please provide the feedback and consultation referred to here: "The
statement was revised following feedback from and consultation with
healthcare professionals, to ensure the position was clear and to avoid
confusion."

The Ministry of Health has decided to extend the period of time available
to respond to your request under section 15A of the Official Information
Act 1982 (the Act) as further collation and consultation is required

 

You can now expect a response to your request on, or before, 10 March
2022.

You have the right, under section 28 of the Act, to ask the Ombudsman to
review my decision to extend the time available to respond to your
request.

Ngâ mihi

 

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [email address]

 

 

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: OIA Requests


Attachment image002.jpg
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Attachment H202200610 Document 1 Redacted.pdf
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Attachment H202200610 response letter.pdf
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Kia ora ASE,

Please find attached a letter regarding your request for information.

Ngā mihi

OIA Services

Government Services

Office of the Director-General

Ministry of Health

E: [email address]

show quoted sections

Link to this

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