Saturday, July 20, 2024

Vaccine booster approved for teens

Young people aged 16 and 17 will be able to receive a free Pfizer vaccine booster dose from tomorrow, COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins has announced.

The announcement follows Medsafe’s provisional approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) as a booster dose for this age group and will apply to teens at least six months after completing their primary vaccine course.

“This decision is great news and means that from tomorrow, around 36,000 rangatahi aged 16 and 17 years will be eligible to receive a booster dose,” Chris Hipkins said.

“They can do this by visiting any walk-in vaccination clinic around the country.

“A booster dose is particularly recommended for 16 and 17-year-olds who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalisation. This includes those who’re immunocompromised or living with a family member who is immunocompromised, and Māori and Pacific rangatahi.

“Decisions like this are another important step in helping us protect all New Zealanders, especially as we get closer to the winter months.

“We know that over time, immunity to the virus wanes, so getting the booster gives the best protection against COVID-19. 

“This is also a reminder to any New Zealander who hasn’t yet had their booster, that even if you’ve already had COVID-19, getting a booster at least 3 months after you test positive helps reduce the risk of being re-infected and passing it on to others.”

“It also reduces the chances of you becoming very ill and ending up in hospital.

This decision on booster doses for our young people protects more New Zealanders from the risk of serious complications from COVID-19, the Minister said.

“I also want to recognise the team at Medsafe who’ve worked hard to assess all COVID-19 vaccine applications.”

“Medsafe follows a robust approval process to ensure all the vaccines we use in New Zealand meet acceptable standards for safety, quality and efficacy,” he said.

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