Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered from 29 November, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.
“Medsafe has already approved use of Pfizer as a booster for people who are 18 years or older,” Mr Hipkins said.
“Following further advice to Cabinet from the vaccine technical advisory group, today I’m announcing that the vaccination programme will start administering booster doses from 29 November.”
Booster doses will be available free for anyone in New Zealand aged 18 or older who has completed their two-dose course more than six months ago.
“And, people will be able to access boosters in New Zealand, whether they received their earlier doses here or overseas,” the Minister said.
“I’m also confirming that the Pfizer vaccine will be used for boosters, regardless of which vaccine was used for earlier doses. It’s the same Pfizer vaccine used for the first two doses in the vaccination rollout.
“While most other countries are rationing boosters to certain groups, we have made the decision to make boosters available to everyone. That ensures simplicity and equity.
“People are eligible to take up the offer of a booster once six months have passed since their second dose, but there’s no need to rush to get the booster. The science shows fully vaccinated people remain really well protected from infection, and from being seriously ill if they do get COVID-19.”
He said New Zealand’s healthcare and border workers were a priority group for booster vaccine doses, along with older Kiwis.
“We’re particularly keen to make sure those groups are aware that the booster programme is about to kick off, and that they’re eligible.”
“There are currently 144,000 people in New Zealand who have been vaccinated for six months and 455,847 who will be by the end of the year.”