Vaccination efforts are ramping up from this weekend, with whānau-friendly events taking place up and down the motu, in preparation for winter and timed with the availability of the flu and Covid-19 bivalent vaccines.
The bivalent vaccine provides protection against two strains of the Covid-19 virus.
From today (April 1), people aged 65 and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 50 and over, pregnant people and those most likely to get very sick with the flu, can head to an event near them, to many of their local pharmacies or book in at their GP to receive the vaccine, free.
An additional free Covid-19 bivalent booster is also available for people at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19, regardless of how many doses they’ve previously had.
A number of vaccination events led by community providers are happening in Northland, Auckland, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Canterbury. For some, the weekend marks just the beginning of their month-long vaccination drives in their local communities.
Prepare for winter
Te Whatu Ora national interim medical director Dr Pete Watson said it was vital New Zealanders took steps to prepare for winter alongside our hospitals, which were already really busy.
“Last year, Covid-19, seasonal illness and operational challenges put pressure on health and disability providers, increasing demand for services and constraining the ability to meet it due to staff vacancies, and illness.
“Demand for health care did not abate in spring and summer, and we are expecting this winter may be much more challenging than even the last. “
He said vaccination remained the best defence against getting seriously ill.
“Take the opportunity to pop down to an event, visit your local pharmacy or book in at your GP to get your Covid-19 booster and your flu vaccine.
“Make sure your tamariki are up to date with all the vaccines they need now,” Dr Watson said.
Access care in community
All New Zealanders over 30 and over can also access the Covid-19 bivalent booster as long as it’s been at least six months since their last Covid-19 booster or positive Covid-19 test.
If people do get sick this winter, they should access care in their community, close to their home when they need it. They can get clinical advice from Healthline, their local doctor who might also be able to see them via telehealth, a pharmacy or their local health provider.
Whānau can book flu and Covid-19 vaccines at www.BookMyVaccine.co.nz, call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26, or contact their GP, pharmacy or healthcare provider.
Vaccination events happening this weekend and early next week across the motu include:
Hauora Hokianga is having an event for tamariki and whānau on Tuesday, April 4 at Rawene Playcentre from 10am-2pm, where health checks will be carried out. Flu, MMR and Covid-19 boosters will be available.
The Fono newborn to five-year-olds immunisation day, today 10am-2pm at The Fono Manurewa Clinic, 7-9 Halver Road, Manurewa
MUMA Community Day (not an immunisation event but South Seas is planning to attend and offer vaccinations), today from 10am-5pm, Nga Whare Waatea Marae, 31 Calthrop Close
Turanga Health is hosting a whānau day at Cobham School tomorrow, from 10am to 2pm. Covid-19, flu and childhood immunisations available. There will be a DJ, icecream cart, coffee cart, BBQ and other activities on offer.
Pacific Winter Wellness Clinic at Age Concern, 38 Bristol Cres, Flaxmere. It’s an immunisation clinic for Flu, MMR and COVID-19 for those who are eligible today from 10am-3pm.
Fun and vaccination day at Queens Drive Pharmacy and Queens Street Medical – Upper Hutt this weekend
Hauora Day in Porirua (organised by Ora Toa) today, from 9am to 3pm, Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua.
Te Runganganui o Te Ati Awa, Wellbeing Saturdays in April – starting today but excluding Easter and Anzac Weekend 148 Whites Line East, Waiwhetū, Lower Hutt.
Two-day vaccination event happening behind the Aranui/Wainoni Community Centre from 10am to 4pm at 31 Hampshire St today and tomorrow.