Booster rollout accelerated to protect against COVID-19 variants

Everyone aged 18 and over who has received 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine can now book a free booster dose online or over the phone.

If it’s been more than 4 months since your second dose, you can either book an appointment using Book My Vaccine (external link) or visit a walk-in clinic for your booster vaccine today. To make a whānau booking call 0800 28 29 26.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the Ministry of Health recently reduced the interval between the second dose and a booster dose from 6 months to 4 months to help accelerate the rollout and provide greater protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“We are urging everyone to receive their booster dose as soon as 4 months has passed following their second dose. Even if it’s been less than 4 months since your second dose, you can still book ahead to ensure you get the date and time you prefer once you’re eligible.

“COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be available at mobile and pop-up vaccination clinics, particularly in rural Māori communities as well as marae vaccinations where a number of kaumatua received their initial doses,” says Dr Bloomfield.

You can check when you are due for a booster by visiting mycovidrecord.nz (external link) or, if you have one, referring to your purple COVID-19 Vaccine appointment card. 

The Ministry of Health has also updated its booster advice for pregnant people and those who are severely immunocompromised.

“Pregnant people are at high risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection, and those who are unvaccinated are more likely to have complications during pregnancy if they contract COVID-19. The Pfizer booster vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy at least 4 months after the second dose, and we encourage pregnant people to discuss the timing with their midwife, obstetrician, or general practitioner.

“A third primary dose was made available in October last year for people who are severely immunocompromised. Anyone aged 18 and older who received a third primary dose, can now have a booster dose four months later,” says Dr Bloomfield.

More than 82% of vaccinated New Zealanders will be eligible for a booster by the end of February 2022.

As of 16 January, 752,742 people had received a booster dose.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners across the motu to ensure that we reach those who are most at risk of severe disease or exposure to COVID-19. This includes border and health and disability workers, especially with the cases of Omicron that have been identified in MIQ, Māori and Pacific peoples, those aged 65 years and over, and those with pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19.

“Vaccination is one of several measures to protect Aotearoa New Zealand against new variants of COVID-19. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your community is to get vaccinated and get a booster after 4 months,” says Dr Bloomfield.

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