With the decision from the NZ government to move the whole country into red status due to the community spread of the Omicron variant, health professionals strongly encourage the Pacific community to get fully vaccinated or if they are – seek to get their booster shot if they are eligible to do so.
Those getting a booster shot must be aged 18 years and over and be fully vaccinated. They also must have at least a four-month gap since receiving their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The booster is important to maintain our immunity levels against Covid-19 and it is shown to be effective against the Omicron variant.
We know that after a certain time the immunity level reduces, so a booster shot is vital to reducing our risk of severe infection and spreading it to others”, says Clinical Director for Etu Pasifika in Christchurch, Dr Monica Nua-George.
As the largest Pacific health provider in Christchurch, Etu Pasifika’s vaccination clinic will be offering booster shots for the Canterbury community.
“The booster is shown to provide added protection by reducing the spread of the virus. Two doses give us personal protection from becoming very sick, while the third dose gives us further personal protection.
It reduces the spread of the virus to others, which is important in reducing the risk for our vulnerable population”, says Dr Nua-George.
In an interview for 531 PI, PMA member and Auckland GP, Dr Api Talemaitoga, further reinforces the efficacy of the booster shot.
“When we talked about Delta and the original Covid-19, the response rate from the Pfizer vaccine was up to 95%. It is much lower than that for Omicron. With the booster shot it can get you up to 90%.
This is what viruses do. They change, they mutate and try to survive, so getting that booster shot is really important, but if you haven’t had your first shot, please think about having it now.”
The child doses of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine are also now available to children aged between 5 to 11 years old. Dr Talemaitoga reassures our Pacific community that we can trust the research and the science behind the vaccine.
“We’re lucky in Aotearoa that we are watching what is happening overseas. There’s been about 9 million doses given to 5–11-year-old children in the United States with good protection, without major side effects.
Now that we have the evidence, we can now afford to push the vaccination for this age group.”