From this weekend vaccination efforts are ramping up 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 tomorrow (April 1), people aged 65 and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 55 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 of charge.
An additional COVID-19 bivalent booster is also available for free 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 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. The full list is at the bottom of this media release.
Te Whatu Ora national interim medical director, Dr Pete Watson, said it is vital that New Zealanders take steps to prepare for winter alongside our hospitals, which are 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 remains 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.
All New Zealanders over 30 and over can also access the COVID-19 bivalent booster as long as it’s been at least 6 months since their last COVID-19 booster or positive COVID-19 test.
If you do get sick this winter, you should access care in your community, close to your home when you need it. You can get clinical advice from Healthline, your local doctor who may also be able to see you via telehealth, your pharmacy or your local health provider.
Book your flu and COVID-19 vaccines now at www.BookMyVaccine.co.nz, call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26, or contact your 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 April 4 at Rawene Playcentre from 10am-2pm, where health checks will be carried out, including flu, MMR and COVID-19 boosters will be available.
- The Fono 0-5 Year Olds Immunisation Day, Saturday April 1, 10am-2pm at The Fono Manurewa Clinic, 7-9 Halver Road, Manurewa
- MUMA Community Day (not an immunisation event but South Seas are planning to attend and offer vaccinations), Saturday 1st April 10am-5pm, Nga Whare Waatea Marae, 31 Calthrop Close, Auckland 2024
- Turanga Health is hosting a whānau day at Cobham School on April 2, from 10 – 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. Saturday 1 April, 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) 1 April, from 9- 3pm, Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua.
- Te Runganganui o Te Ati Awa, Wellbeing Saturdays in April – starting this weekend (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 this Saturday and Sunday.