Covid-19 booster shots to be available from Nov 29

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE say they have so far found no serious safety concerns...
Covid-19 booster shots will begin at the end of the month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday.

Booster shots will be available starting on November 29 for anyone 18 and over who is at least six months on from their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

About 144,000 people have been vaccinated for more than six months, and that number will increase to 455,847 by the end of the year.

There were 173 new community cases of Covid-19 announced yesterday — 163 in Auckland, seven in Waikato, two in Northland and one in North Island’s lake district, plus an additional announcement of the first case in the Wairarapa in Masterton, which will be added to today’s total.

The virus emerged in Taupo, Rotorua and the Tararua district at the weekend.

There were 90 people in hospital with Covid-19 yesterday, seven of whom were in ICU.

Ms Ardern said there was no need to rush to get the booster, as the science showed fully vaccinated people remained well protected from infection and serious illness from Covid-19.

Association of Salaried Medical Specialists chief executive Sarah Dalton said the announcement of booster shots from the end of November was ‘‘brilliant’’, but came just in time.

‘‘One of our members who works in an ED said he would go and get a third jab privately — that’s how concerned he was.

‘‘He’s dealing with Covid-positive patients on a daily basis.’’

Ms Ardern also announced Waikato would drop to Level 2 at 11.59pm today.

he Prime Minister confirmed it was now likely the rest of New Zealand would move to the traffic light system even before all district health board regions hit the 90% fully vaccinated milestone.

That was because public health advice was that the new system was safer than Level 2 of the old alert level system, because it took into account vaccination status.

Asked if summer travel would be restricted in regions with low vaccination rates, such as Northland and Tairawhiti, Ms Ardern said hard boundaries were impractical in some places because of the number of roads in and out.

That indicated soft boundaries were more likely to operate around those areas, as was the case in Waikato when it was at Level 3.

That involved spot checks rather than checkpoints.

Auckland had been tentatively slotted to go to the traffic light system after the November 29 Cabinet meeting and the rest of New Zealand was likely to follow a week to 10 days later.

There were 3,413,839 people fully vaccinated as of yesterday, 81% of the eligible population. 



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