Sunday, April 14, 2024

More Māori and Pacific peoples eligible for second booster

Māori and Pacific peoples aged 40-49 are now eligible for a second Covid-19 booster to provide additional protection from the virus, Deputy-Director General and head of the Public Health Agency Dr Andrew Old, said today.

The decision by the Director-General of Health to expand second booster eligibility follows a recommendation from the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group (CV TAG) that lowering the eligible age to 40 years will help to address health inequity, with recent data revealing Māori and Pacific peoples remain at higher risk of severe outcomes from the virus. Over 63,000 people will immediately become eligible for the second COVID-19 booster.

“First and second boosters help to reduce the chance of more serious illness and hospitalisation, so we strongly recommend people book in for the vaccines they are eligible for,” said Dr old.

“There is clear evidence that the burden from COVID-19 has fallen unevenly, and Māori and Pacific peoples are over-represented in COVID-19 hospitalisations with that risk increasing from the age of 40 years.

“The broader second booster access will help support higher vaccination rates among Māori and Pacific peoples and provide them with additional protection.”

Second boosters can be given at least six months after a first booster, and at least three months after a COVID-19 infection.

“Based on current advice, for those who are not at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, a two-dose primary course and a booster dose continue to provide very good and lasting protection from severe illness. By being more targeted in the rollout of the second booster, we can help reach the people that need it most,” Dr Old said.

First and second booster vaccines are available through walk-in and booked appointments at Māori and Pacific providers, pharmacies, general practice and other locations across Aotearoa. Appointments can be booked at www.BookMyVaccine.nz or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.

“CV TAG continues to review new information on COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines as it becomes available, and will make further updated recommendations if necessary,” Dr Old said.

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