The fight against Omicron commences in New Zealand

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Wellington, December 21, 2021

Key things to note

Parents and caregivers will have the opportunity to vaccinate their children (aged 5 to 11) against Covid-19 from January 17, 2021

The government agrees on precautionary measures to keep Omicron out of the community for as long as possible. Updated information on Omicron is on the Ministry of Health website.

Medsafe has approved Ronapreve that can both prevent and treat Covid-19.

Guidance for face coverings in retail premises and other public places have been updated.

 

90% of eligible people in New Zealand are fully vaccinated.

Cases in hospital: 57; North Shore: 10; Auckland: 25; Middlemore: 19; Northland 1; Waikato: 2

Vaccination for children

From January 17, 2021, paediatric vaccines will be available for 5-11year olds.

The Cabinet has agreed with the advice from the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group, off the back of Medsafe approval that confirms both the safety and efficacy of the paediatric vaccine, to use the vaccine to protect 5 to 11-years-olds.

There are 476,000 children between ages 5-11 who will become eligible to get their first dose from this date, and their second dose at least eight weeks later. 

Agreeing with the precautionary measures suggested, the government has decided to reduce

the interval between the second dose and the booster shot to four months. Eligible border and health workers will be required to get a booster dose. The pre-departure test required to enter New Zealand has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours before travel.

The phased border re-opening has been pushed to the end of February 2022.

Changes to MIQ

The government has announced changes to the MIQ, lengthening the stay of arriving passengers from seven to ten days.

Everyone on an international flight with a positive case will be treated as close contact.

All countries have been removed from the Very High-Risk country list.

The Traffic Light System will be used to manage the outbreak. In the event of Omicron outbreaks, areas will move into the Red Traffic Light Setting.

Medsafe has approved Ronapreve that can both prevent and treat Covid-19.

Ronapreve is known to be effective against the Delta variant and research is now focusing on its effectiveness against the Omicron variant. Medsafe will continue to evaluate that information when it becomes available.

Face Covering Rules

The government has updated its guidance for face coverings in retail premises and other public places. The guidance is targeted at the three main groups of people affected by the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 requirement for the use of face coverings. The guidance includes consideration of people who have a physical or sensory disability, mental health or other health condition that makes wearing a face-covering unsuitable.

Vaccination progress

As of December 21, 2021, 90% of eligible people in New Zealand are fully vaccinated; 87% of the total eligible Maori population have received at least one dose; 94% of the total eligible Pacific population have received at least one dose.

Source: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Wellington

 

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