Monday, March 4, 2024

Booster gap cut to three months

A million more New Zealand adults will be eligible for their booster from this Friday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“Cabinet has considered advice from the Director-General of Health and the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group and decided to reduce the interval between a person’s primary vaccination course and the booster from four months to three months – starting this Friday 4 February,” Mr Hipkins (pictured) said.

“This is a significant step in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it now means a total of 3,063,823 people aged 18 and over – two thirds of our population – will be eligible for their booster from this weekend. Over 1.3 million people have already got theirs.

“I urge every New Zealander who is eligible for a booster to get it as soon as possible. We are in a race against Omicron and the more people who are boosted the more we can reduce the impact of the outbreak.

“Bringing forward the booster timing will help those who have been immunised more recently. It will mean more people, especially Māori, will be able to receive a booster before Omicron takes hold in communities.”

The Minister said fewer hospitalisations from COVID-19 will mean the nation’s health system can continue to provide the full range of care people need.

“It is also important to reduce impacts on other workforces such as those involved with the supply chain to ensure people have access to goods and services,” he said.

New Zealand is in the top 10 most highly vaccinated countries in the OECD – with 94% of poeple aged over 12 now fully vaccinated.

“That’s close to four million New Zealanders, over a quarter of which have now also had their booster shot,” the Minister said.

“Now is our opportunity to build on that. We have given ourselves a head start that we cannot afford to give up.

“If you are over 18 and it is three months since you received your primary vaccination course, get your booster. There is excellent capacity this weekend and in the coming weeks and enough supply throughout Aotearoa for everyone.

“Thank you to our vaccination providers and staff across the country who are working the long weekend to ensure New Zealanders have options to access their booster dose, wherever they are,” Mr Hipkins said.

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