From Mark’s Desk
Living in a COVID World
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United States and New Zealand politics may no longer dominate our media and social conversations to the same extent as they did in 2020, but for 2021 I suspect COVID-19 will remain an omnipresent issue for all of us.
From our perspective, the next stage in New Zealand’s response of immediate interest is the rollout of vaccines across our local population. As you will note in our News Bite on the topic, the first vaccinations have already been given to our border workers and their families.
We are aware that there has been some concern and discussion in other countries regarding the potential allergen exposure from some of the COVID-19 vaccines sourced and offered. It is some comfort that the Pfizer vaccine the New Zealand Government has sourced has been assessed and cleared for safe distribution by Medsafe.
For guidance, please refer to the following online information:
There is also a helpful online FAQ resource offered by ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy):
You might recall that membership of Allergy New Zealand was made FREE from October 2019. To join, just email email@example.com, pop 'Membership Request' in the subject line, and provide your name and post code in the body of the email.
This strategic decision by our Board was to enable as many people as possible access to information and resources about living with allergies.
It’s the same reason we encourage you to share the opportunity to receive this publication that has been running for 40 years with your friends and family. Subscription is also FREE. Click here to read more Allergy Today E-Newsletters.
We are thrilled with the increase in both our membership and Allergy Today readers. We include our members’ and readers’ needs in all of our activities and advocacy work. In return, the regulatory, educational and health sector people we work with, know we represent a steadily increasing group of people and organisations committed to improving the lives of people living with allergies in New Zealand.
Your support by adding your name to our cause is extremely valuable when we advocate for changes in the way allergies are perceived and managed in this country. Our progress ultimately benefits every New Zealander who lives with allergies.
The stories and experiences that you share by email, phone and social media, often send us diving down rabbit holes or exposes new information or resources that we were not aware of. Your intel is an essential source of ongoing and fresh information that directs and inspires our work.
Please keep sharing those challenges and triumphs with us. We guarantee our other members and readers will benefit from them, too.
Food Labelling – Great News!
Our friends at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have approved the Proposal P1044.
Why should we care? FSANZ approval is a mandatory step to amending New Zealand’s Food Standards Code. All manufactured and imported food in New Zealand is legally required to comply with that Code.
The recently approved Proposal P1044 relates to labelling standards for food and food services. It is currently the only regulated means for people living with food allergies to determine whether a food is safe for them and does not carry an allergen they are allergic to.
It is another victory for Allergy NZ and the other groups on both sides of the Tasman who have been collaborating and working on this initiative for several years.
Locally, we would like to again trumpet the perseverance, patience and tact of our Allergy Advisor Penny Jorgensen for her contributions to this significant international effort.
It is slow, complex and challenging teamwork, and is exactly what Allergy NZ excels at.
Please refer to the News Bite in this issue to learn about the tangible outcomes that will enhance the safety and enjoyment of food for all New Zealanders living with a food allergy, including Kiwis with specific dietary needs, including coeliac, diabetes, IBS, and others.
Great work, Penny!
In our Christmas issue, we offered readers the chance to enrol in a new cat food trial for their cats.
Purina has developed a new cat food that aims to reduce the amount of allergenic proteins contained in cat saliva. As cats groom themselves regularly with their tongues, these proteins are transferred to their fur. Exposure to them can trigger allergic reactions for those who have a sensitivity to them.
By targeting the offending proteins, this new cat food is designed to reduce the allergen load that the owner or family member is exposed to. Purina is offering an opportunity for your pet to sample their new cat food.
Proplan ‘LiveClear’ cat food is now available now at specialty and online pet retailers www.Proplan.co.nz/LiveClear
More Allergy Journeys, please
We had many kind and supportive responses to the story we shared in our last issue from Allergy NZ volunteer and Mum, Kristen de Monchy.
Her story highlighted some of the frustrations of conflicting diagnosis and management, the need to stay close to children in those early, high-risk years, the high levels of patience and trust to be instilled with carers, and the value of consistent support and awareness.
It clearly touched a chord with a number of you and several passed on their thanks to Kristen for sharing.
They also asked for more allergy stories, so…If you’ve had allergy experiences that have helped you and your family, please feel free to share them with us.
Please send your story to Penny – firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoying our freedom
There’s nothing like a lockdown to remind us all of the importance of freedom in our lives.
We know that a number of our readers’ lives are impacted by their allergy issues every day. Your ability to manage them and downplay their challenges inspires us to work with more urgency and effectiveness.
As always, we acknowledge the support of all of you who have joined us to do the same.
Mark Dixon, CEO Allergy NZ