Covid 19 - Vitamin D - Maori - Pacifica - South Asian - Elderly
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From: Micky Turner
Dear Jacinda Ardern,
Low Vitamin D prior to Covid 19 infection is associated with bad outcomes.
The required level of Vitamin D for good health at all ages is deemed to be at least 50 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) of blood. A ViDA study showed that 20 percent of Pākehā participants, 39 percent of Māori, 47 percent of Pacific and 72 percent of South Asian participants had less than 50 nmol/L.
On 2nd June 2020 the Prime Minister was advised to supplement this at-risk population.
It is now 2nd December 2021.
Can you please forward information detailing the Labour Government's Vitamin D rollout to at risk people during the last 18 months?
Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor
Vitamin D status and COVID-19 Prepared under urgency – 2 June 2020
Aotearoa New Zealand context:
The latest data on vitamin D deficiency in Aotearoa New Zealand comes from two sources: a survey of GP perceptions in 201324 and an adult nutritional survey in 2008–9 that reported 5% deficiency and 27% insufficiency in the NZ population. 25 The findings of a survey that is over a decade old are not likely to be representative of today’s population, however the groups identified as at-risk of deficiency are still considered at-risk:
• People with naturally dark skin
• People whose skin is not regularly exposed to sunlight, by: regularly covering a lot of your skin (e.g. use of sunscreen or use of concealing clothing, such as a burka), or o not going outside.
• People who live in the South Island (especially south of Nelson-Marlborough) and get little time outdoors in the middle of the day between May and August, resulting in a risk of vitamin D deficiency in spring.
• People with liver or kidney disease, or who are on certain medications that affect vitamin D levels. Testing for vitamin D status is more expensive than supplementing in NZ, so current policy is to supplement individuals at-risk of vitamin D deficiency at the discretion of GPs. This policy is probably also appropriate for managing individuals at-risk of severe COVID-19 disease in NZ until more information is gathered from clinical trials.
In sunny New Zealand it’s hard to believe people would have low vitamin D levels, but we do. The required level for good health at all ages is deemed to be at least 50 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) of blood. The ViDA study showed that 20 percent of Pākehā participants, 39 percent of Māori, 47 percent of Pacific and 72 percent of South Asian participants had less than 50 nmol/L.
I will document some additional information below. I also wish to note that every major media outlet in New Zealand has been aware of this information for some time now. As has RNZ / NZOnAir funded journalist Mihirangi Forbes and Maori Party leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer - both of whom have chosen to remain silent on this issue - an issue which has a significant impact on the people who they claim to represent.
NHS UK started giving out Vitamin D to vulnerable for Covid 19 in February 2021
‘Covid 19’ appears zero times on Ministry of Health’s Vitamin D guidelines:
Vitamin K should also be given:
The importance of vitamin K in lung health was also recently discussed by another research group. Using NHANES 2007–2016 data (n = 17 681), Shen et al. showed that consumption of recommended amounts of vitamin K was associated with a 39% decrease in odds of emphysema, and they concluded that vitamin K is important for lung health 
The vitamin K status in 135 hospitalized COVID-19 patients was compared with controls. Similar to our findings, the extrahepatic vitamin K status was lower in the COVID-19 patients compared with the controls, and it was even lower in the poor outcome patients (invasive ventilation and/or death). In another study, in 62 COVID-19 patients, 72% of the males and 36% of the females were vitamin K deficient. Our study extends these findings to a US cohort, and also to a cohort with largely varying clinical presentation (varying from asymptomatic status to death), in which we report a significant association between vitamin K status and COVID-19 disease severity.
A state of heightened inflammation, usually measured by soluble cytokines, seems to play an important role in the pathophysiology of COVID-19. Some cytokines are potentially beneficial (type-I interferon, interleukin [IL]-7), and others harmful (tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α, IL-1β, IL-6) . Anastasi and colleagues have shown a positive correlation between low hepatic vitamin K status and elevated interleukin 6 (IL-6). The anti-inflammatory action of vitamin K is shown in several studies outside of COVID-19.
These observations suggest that the association between vitamin K, but not vitamin D, and COVID-19 severity outcome is likely partially due to vitamin K’s anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, vitamin K status may unfavorably modify COVID-19 pathogenesis by several other mechanisms, including lower extrahepatic activation of the anticoagulant protein S, leading to accelerated thrombosis formation, and lower activation of MGP, reducing inhibition of mineralization of the elastic fibers in the lung, leading to accelerated elastic fiber damage.
Our findings suggest a potential relationship between vitamins D and K at the time of acute COVID-19 and an association with worse disease severity. Interestingly, both vitamin D and vitamin K may display complementary effects on the cytokine storm, thrombosis, and lung damage during COVID-19. Specifically, they display similar inhibitory effects on inhibition of NF-kB and cytokine release, and vitamins D and K appear to work synergistically to help protect against calcification and damage in the lungs
Several factors are frequently cited as risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes, including race, BMI, and comorbidities. Black individuals have higher mortality in the United States, with an infection rate >3-fold higher in predominantly Black counties compared with predominantly White counties . Hypertension has been identified as the most common comorbidity in COVID-19, and obesity is a risk factor for COVID-19 disease severity. In our study, being non-White and having a higher BMI were independently associated with worse vitamin D and K levels; however, neither race nor BMI was associated with COVID-19 outcome after adjusting for vitamin D and vitamin K status. Similarly, hypertension was independently associated with worse vitamin K status but not with COVID-19 severity when adjusting for vitamin D and K levels. Most African Americans lack normal serum levels of vitamin D; in addition, greater adiposity is associated with lower vitamin D levels, suggesting a role for vitamin D in abdominal fat storage and function. Race, BMI, and comorbidities, specifically hypertension, may be inter-related, and racial differences in COVID-19 disease severity may be due to additional socioeconomic and health care disparities; however, our findings suggest that vitamins D and K may play a role in modulating the associations between these factors and COVID-19 disease severity.
From: Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with Prime Minister Jacinda
If you are writing about an issue relating to COVID-19, mental health,
Immigration, housing or benefit assistance, here's a list of links that
you might find helpful:
For queries around Managed Isolation availability and/or exemptions:
If you are overseas and need assistance please contact your nearest New
Zealand Embassy or Consulate. Contact details are listed in each
destination page on the SafeTravel website:
. For urgent consular assistance after-hours please contact +64 99 20 20
20 (monitored 24 hours a day).
For immigration and visa advice: contact the call centre which is open
6:00am Monday to midnight on Saturday (NZT).
For urgent housing or benefit enquiries:
∙ Call 0800 559 009 (for under 65)
∙ Call 0800 552 002 (for over 65)
If you need treatment or support for your health or wellbeing, the
following options are available.
Healthline – You can call Healthline for health advice on freephone 0800
611 116 at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Healthline staff
can advise you on the best thing to do in your situation, including which
services are near you and open.
1737 – If you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can
call or text 1737 for free at any time to talk to a trained counsellor.
Mental health crisis teams – If you are concerned that someone is going to
hurt themselves or someone else, you can call your local mental health
crisis team. A full list of numbers is available here:
For Police assistance In an emergency call 111.
For everything else use 105.
You can also make a report online at 105.police.govt.nz
We hope that one of the above links helps answer your question, if not we
will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you again
Office of the Prime Minister
From: J Ardern (MIN)
On behalf of Raj Nahna, I attach a letter in response to your OIA request.
Private Secretary (Executive Support)
Office of the Prime Minister
Authorised by Rt. Hon Jacinda Ardern MP, Parliament Buildings, Wellington