Booster vaccinations start

Media release

28 November 2021

Booster vaccinations will be available throughout Aotearoa from Monday. While the priority is still getting people fully vaccinated, healthcare, border workers and kaumātua who have been fully vaccinated for six months or more can now get their boosters, Director General Ashley Bloomfield said today.

‘Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19. 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,’ Dr Bloomfield said.

‘We’re particularly keen to make sure our healthcare and border workers – who are most at risk of coming in contact with COVID-19, and older people including kaumātua and those in residential care are aware that boosters are available from Monday, and that they’re eligible if they completed their course of Pfizer more than six months ago.

‘Work is already happening around the motu to ensure boosters are available in the same way your normal two shots are available – at vaccination sites, GPs and pharmacies, and on-site in aged residential care facilities (ARCs).

DHBs are working hard to reach those who were in the early priority groups of the vaccine rollout, particularly border and healthcare workers, older Māori and Pacific people, and those in ARCs.

NRHCC, which runs the vaccine rollout on behalf of Auckland DHBs, starts its outreach activity at aged residential care facilities this week at Kenderdine Park Rest Home in Papatoetoe – the first rest home the DHBs started vaccinating at, when it kicked off its vaccination outreach to ARCs back in April 2021.

Bay of Plenty DHB will begin its booster programme among ARC residents, planning to administer around 2,000 doses by Christmas.

Down south, Southern DHB is working with local Māori and Pasifika providers to ensure over 65s in their communities get the opportunity to receive a booster dose.

‘People will be able to access boosters in New Zealand, whether they received their earlier doses here or overseas.

‘The Pfizer vaccine will be used for boosters, regardless of which vaccine was used for earlier doses.

‘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. There is plenty of existing stock of the Pfizer vaccine in New Zealand and this will not run out.

‘And while the booster programme is an important next step in our pandemic response, increasing the vaccination coverage of first and second doses, particularly for Māori, Pacific and disabled communities, remains our number one priority in our nationwide vaccination rollout, particularly with COVID in the community and as new strains emerge,’ said Dr Bloomfield.

‘Please encourage your whānau and friends to get vaccinated.’

Key points

  • Border and healthcare workers, older Māori and Pacific people, and those in age and residential care facilities (ARCs) are encouraged to book their booster dose.
  • There will be 455,847 people eligible for a booster by the end of the year
  • Health officials are currently assessing the latest international information on the new B.1.1.529 variant which the World Health Organization has named Omicron. There is no change to the advice on booster vaccines, which is for people over-18 to get their booster dose at least six months after their second dose.
  • Vaccination clinics, pharmacies and GPs can now provide booster doses.
  • You can now use the book my vaccine website, or phone 0800 28 29 26, to book a free booster vaccination.
  • Booster doses are not currently required for the public to get a vaccine certificate for access to events, gyms, churches, hairdressers, and other services and premises.
  • People who are immuno-suppressed and receiving a third dose of Pfizer as part of their primary vaccinations will need to wait at least six months after the third dose.
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