Covid booster vaccine interval reduced to 3 months in New Zealand
Covid booster vaccine interval reduced to 3 months in New Zealand

The New Zealand govt said on Wednesday that the time between a person's initial Covid-19 vaccine course and the booster will be reduced from four to three months, allowing more people to get their booster shots sooner.

A million more individuals over the age of 18 will be eligible for boosters starting this Friday, according to Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins, who spoke at a news conference. Hipkins stated that the government has considered the Director-General of Health's and the Covid Vaccine Technical Advisory Group's opinion.

"This is a significant step in our response to the Covid pandemic," he said, adding that more than 3.06 million people 18 years of age and above, or roughly two-thirds of the population, will be eligible for boosters starting this weekend. More than 1.3 million people have already received booster dose.

"We're in a race against Omicron, and the more people who get boosted, the less the epidemic will spread," Hipkins said. Bringing the booster schedule forward will benefit people who have recently been immunised. It would allow more individuals, particularly Maori, to obtain a booster vaccine before Omicron takes root in their communities, he added.

Approximately 94 percent of New Zealand's eligible citizens have received at least two doses of the vaccine. According to the minister, over 4 million eligible candidates have received their booster injections, with more than a quarter having already had them.

According to the Ministry of Health, 142 new community cases of Covid were reported in New Zealand on Wednesday, including 103 in Auckland, 12 in nearby Waikato, five in Bay of Plenty, two in the Lakes area, and 11 in Northland.

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