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Boosting Waikato's COVID-19 protection - Waikato DHB

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The COVID-19 vaccine booster shot gives strong protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and is now considered a key requirement in developing optimal immunity.

As rangatahi aged 16 and 17 become available for the Pfizer COVID-19 booster, provided they have completed their primary vaccination course at least six months ago, it’s timely to examine the rates across the Waikato.

Within the Waikato 69% of eligible people have had their booster, with 202,913 shots given. This means there are currently 90,641 people who are eligible but have not yet taken up the opportunity to get their booster. The rate of boosters is lower across Māori and Pacific residents with 53.7% and 60.7% of those eligible having had their booster dose. Waikato DHB is continuing to promote booster shots and vaccination clinics are operating across the region.

Waikato DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Felicity Dumble says the current rates for third vaccination are behind where she would like them to be for the region, particularly with the current Omicron outbreak and as we move from summer into autumn and toward our traditional cold and flu season.

"Booster doses of the vaccine should not be seen as a ‘nice to have’ extra, but a key part of building your protection from COVID-19. While two doses used to be the goal to make you to be fully protected, due to Omicron you now need to have had three doses with the correct wait times between," says Dr Dumble.

"If you have not had a booster, NOW is the best time. It is important to get your booster BEFORE you contract COVID-19. Evidence here and overseas shows that you are likely to experience reduced symptoms and be less likely to transmit the virus further if you have had additional protection prior to becoming ill."

As Dr Dumble points out, one of the impacts that we know will impact the booster roll out is the current Omicron outbreak. For people testing positive for COVID-19 before having their booster, it is still important for them to get their booster. However, after recovering from COVID-19, people need to wait 12 weeks (about 3 months) before they can have the vaccine.

In addition to COVID-19 vaccines, this year’s flu vaccine programme has also begun.

"It’s important that people are aware that the booster will not interfere with the flu vaccine. This means if you are planning to have a flu jab and have not had a COVID-19 booster, that you can go out and get your booster as soon as possible, there is no need to delay." If you have recently caught COVID-19, you can have your flu jab a soon as you have recovered.

Vaccination teams are set up across the Waikato. Drop in for your first, second or booster shot and bring the whānau. Everyone welcome!

For updates on clinics keep an eye on our Waikato DHB Facebook page, or visit our website at www.waikatodhb.health.nz/covid19mobile

Boosters are the best way to fight Omicron and protect yourself and your whānau. Being boosted will increase your protection against severe disease. If you had your second vaccination at least 3 months ago and you're 18 and over, get your booster ASAP.

People looking for more information about vaccination in the Waikato are advised to look on the Waikato DHB website or covid19.govt.nz

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