It means 1 million more New Zealanders over 18 will be eligible for their booster from this Friday. Two thirds of the country’s population overall will be eligible from this weekend.
“Cabinet has considered advice from the Director-General of Health and the COVID-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group and decided to reduce the interval between a person’s primary vaccination course and the booster from four months to three months – starting this Friday 4 February,” Chris Hipkins said.
The COVID-19 Response Minister urged every eligible New Zealand to get their booster “as soon as possible”.
“We are in a race against Omicron and the more people who are boosted the more we can reduce the impact of the outbreak,” he said.
“Bringing forward the booster timing will help those who have been immunised more recently. It will mean more people, especially Māori, will be able to receive a booster before Omicron takes hold in communities.
“Boosters lower your chances of getting very sick from the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and ending up in hospital. Fewer hospitalisations from COVID-19 will mean our health system can continue to provide the full range of care people need, in particular for our most vulnerable such as people with disabilities or long-term illnesses.
“It is also important to reduce impacts on other workforces such as those involved with the supply chain to ensure people have access to goods and services.”
The shortened booster interval to three months only applies to the Pfizer vaccine. CV-TAG will provide separate advice on AstraZeneca later this month.