Ministry of Health figures released today show 90% (257,052) of eligible Pasifika in New Zealand have reached the double vaccinated milestone less than two weeks after the rest of the overall population. Māori have reached the 80% double vaccination milestone.
Also announced today were seven more cases of the Omicron variant detected in MIQ bringing the total cases of Omicron in New Zealand to 45. 126 community cases overall were reported over two days with 47 in hospital, including seven in ICU.
Earlier this week Medsafe approved a new treatment Ronapreve that can both prevent and treat COVID-19, recommended for people who are badly affected by COVID-19 and who are at increased risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 disease, such as patients taking medication for other serious diseases. Ronapreve is a monoclonal antibody drug that mimics the body’s natural defences for fighting disease.
The Government also announced this week its endorsement of the Director General of Health’s recommendation that from early January the gap between the second dose and the first booster dose will be reduced from six months to four months. This will mean around three million New Zealanders (82% of the currently vaccinated) will be able to get their booster dose before the end of February.
The border continues to be our first line of defence.
In the December 21 post cabinet press briefing COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said “more than half of border workers eligible for a booster at 6 months have already had it – which is a great response – but we need to get the numbers up quickly.
“Cabinet has therefore agreed in principle that where workers are required to be vaccinated, that this mandate will also extend to boosters.
“Initially this will be for those workers most likely to come into contact with Omicron — border and health workers — who will be required to have their booster by the end of January, or not later six months after their second dose for those who were only recently vaccinated, and then to all others who are under a vaccination mandate by the 1st of March.”
To allow time for this booster programme to be effective, Cabinet also pushed back the date where Australian travellers would be able to self isolate from January 17 to the end of February.