Living in alert level 4 lockdown comes with a unique set of rules, some of which are not always clear. In our new daily feature we answer questions from readers about anything Covid-related. Email email@example.com
I understand the Pfizer vaccine is a mRNA vaccine and as such attaches to and messages cells in our body. Can you advise whether the vaccine attaches to all our cells or only certain cells?
Once the cells finish making the protein to attack the coronavirus spikes what happens to the mRNA inside our body?
Can the vaccine affect our ability to fight other diseases because our cells have been messaged to fight corona spikes?
Final question can the mRNA vaccine affect or alter our nucleus or DNA?
Auckland University Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris said the spike proteins created by the vaccine did not actually attach to cells.
"What happens is when that mRNA is taken up by the cell and its translated into the protein, then within the same cell that new protein is broken down into little fragments.
"That cell beetles off to the lymph node and it's showing those little bits of fragments of the spike protein on the outside, and that's when you get your T cells and B cells and all the antibody response happens.
"Then it all ceases to exist."
Not all the cells in our body took up the mRNA and created spike proteins and Petousis-Harris explained that the cells that did were also broken down by the immune response along with the protein fragments they carried.
The mRNA injected into our body also broke down quickly.
"It's very fragile and very short-lived," she said.
Petousis-Harris said people were imagining a flood of spike proteins travelling through your body which was not the case.
She said the process began within hours after receiving the vaccination and was over in a matter of days.
As for whether the vaccine affected our body's ability to fight other diseases, Petousis-Harris gave a resounding no.
Our bodies had a capacity to respond to zillions of attacks at once.
"Every day you're breathing, eating, inhaling a multitude of bacteria and viruses and ... your body and immune system just carry on and manage those without even blinking most of the time. You never even know," she said.
No was also the answer to whether the mRNA could alter your DNA.
Petousis-Harris explained the DNA was housed inside a cell's nucleus and mRNA did not have the ability to cross the membrane which surrounded it.
Even if it did manage to cross that barrier, the mRNA did not have the instructions to integrate or interact with the DNA.
Read more about how the vaccine works here.
How much vaccine is available? Will those who want the vaccine face months and months of wait listing or is there going to be a ramped-up effort involving more access and capacity as they did in the UK?
For months Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been promising the rollout of Pfizer vaccines would be ramped up but it never anticipated the surge in demand that has come since the Delta outbreak plunged the country into lockdown.
Now the Government is scrambling to get its hands on more doses earlier than expected.
Ardern said the "surge" prompted by the outbreak had pushed vaccine rates up to 80,000-90,000 a day - or up to 630,000 a week.
The problem is there are about 840,000 doses in stock, and deliveries at the moment are averaging about 300,000 a week.
The original rollout plan was to be vaccinating about 350,000 people a week at this point.
Ardern said efforts were under way to secure more vaccines in the near future to keep up with that surge demand, and she would be making announcements on these in the coming days.
If that did not work out, she said the rollout could have to be pulled back to that 350,000 a week level to avoid running out of vaccines before the big supply drops from October, when about four million doses are scheduled.
One option being considered was whether it was possible to continue vaccinating Auckland at surge levels and delaying new bookings in other areas.
The Government has ordered a total of 10.1 million doses - enough to vaccinate the eligible population with some left over.
Late last week almost 3.28 million doses had arrived in New Zealand with slightly over 3 million of those already administered, according to Ministry of Health data.
The most recent data available showed that on August 22 there were 459,900 doses held at a central warehouse ready for distribution - the largest number available yet.
That number does not include stock in transit or being held at vaccination sites.
Can children over 12 get the vaccination without parental permission?
Ardern said they would need parental consent yet the Ministry of Health website says they don't need parental consent.
According to the Immunisation Advisory Centre children 12 and over can legally give their own consent but the preference is that should be the exception and not the rule.
The centre recommended that a parent or guardian was present to provide verbal co-consent as best practice - particularly in a mass vaccination setting.
According to Law Professor Claire Breen, writing for The Conversation, the Care of Children Act meant anyone over the age of 16 could give or refuse consent to medical treatment.
But that did not mean younger children could not.
According to the New Zealand Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights, if a health professional is happy the young person fully understands what is involved, then the young person can consent, Breen explained.
When it came to vaccinations, vaccinators must be satisfied the child understood why it was necessary as well as the risks, benefits and outcomes involved.
How do I prove I have been fully vaccinated, with what vaccine and when? People lose their little cards and I hear that they are not being filled in because of level 4 and the cards have come from home. Is there somewhere on the MOH website, or some other way people can find proof if they need it, say for their employer or for possible overseas travel?
The cards are the quickest and easiest way to prove you have been vaccinated so keep them somewhere safe.
If you need formal proof of your Covid vaccination for international travel, you can request a vaccination confirmation letter from the Ministry of Health here.
Your doctor will also be able to access vaccination records and may be able to provide a letter stating you are vaccinated.
The Government is also working on producing a digital vaccination certificate.