Information on the latest science and technical advice on COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has seen high interest in all aspects of the virus from not only the scientific and health community but the general public as well.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can undergo genetic mutations that occur naturally over time or from other pressures. These are known as variants. Variants are identified through the whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of samples from cases where a nasopharyngeal swab is taken and analysis is carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR).
On this page:
- Wastewater surveillance
- Genomics insights report
- Variants Updates
- Long COVID Evidence Updates
- COVID-19 Science Updates
To detect which variants are circulating in the community, ESR also carries out wastewater surveillance from samples taken from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
The COVID-19 Genomics Insights Dashboard provides a public and high-level overview of viral genomic surveillance across Aotearoa, New Zealand. As SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to adapt, mutate, and spread, ESR reports these trends and insights within these reports as part of the WGS surveillance programme in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Between July 2022 and February 2023, the Ministry published Variant Updates to provide information on variants of the virus that were of interest of concern.
As the Variant updates are no longer being produced by the Ministry, please refer to ESR’s COVID-19 Genomics Insights report for more information on COVID-19 variants in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The Ministry continues to closely monitor variants as part of our COVID-19 surveillance in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
7 February 2023
24 January 2023
15 December 2022
5 December 2022
21 November 2022
25 October 2022
27 September 2022
- 27 September 2022 – Variants update (Word, 569 KB)
- 27 September 2022 – Variants update (PDF, 868 KB)
19 August 2022
28 July 2022
7 July 2022
The Science and Technical Advisory and Chief Allied Health Professions Office produce a long COVID evidence brief which informs our ongoing work in the COVID-19 response, and is updated over time.
- Long COVID Evidence Brief 28 November 2022 (PDF, 556 KB)
- Long COVID Evidence Brief 28 November 2022 (Word, 420 KB)
30 March 2022: Request for advice about vaccination in children (5–11)
- STA RfA 30 March: Request for advice about vaccination in children (5–11) (PDF, 1.5 MB)
- STA RfA 30 March: Request for advice about vaccination in children (5–11) (Word, 492 KB)
This request for advice (RfA) was developed to support the discussions and formulation of advice for providing access to the COVID-19 vaccines for this age group within Aotearoa New Zealand. These discussions were primarily held by the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group (CV TAG), who subsequently formulated the advice on vaccination. The RfA has been developed by Ministry of Health expert advisors, in conjunction with expert peer-review obtained through the CV TAG review process.
13 September 2021: Vaccination in pregnancy not associated with miscarriage
- CSU 13 Sept 2021: Vaccination in pregnancy is not associated with miscarriage (PDF, 254 KB)
- CSU 13 Sept 2021: Vaccination in pregnancy is not associated with miscarriage (Word, 79 KB)
Two studies show that the rate of miscarriage is similar for vaccinated and unvaccinated pregnant people, and that there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage during pregnancy
9 July 2021: COVID-19 Pharmaceutical treatments
We present a brief summary of the most notable therapeutics for treating cases of COVID-19 trialled to date. These are categorised by “likely to be beneficial”, “showing promise”, and “unsupported by current evidence”. We also compare and discuss key points of differences between two meta-analyses of available trial data regarding the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 that arrived at conflicting conclusions.’
14 May 2021: Shifting thinking on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2
The WHO and, more recently, CDC have updated their statements to more clearly accept the role airborne transmission is likely to have in the spread of COVID-19. While the Ministry of Health has long been factoring this likely mode of transmission into its planning and mitigation strategies, this has been based on caution rather than certainty. While certainty still remains somewhat elusive, recent expert summaries (noted within) and the acceptance from peak bodies further strengthens our basis for the continual revision of our mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of airborne transmission.