Covid-19 Vaccine Update: August 2021

The following information has been provided by the Ministry of Health on 19 August 2021 – see its website for the most recent updates about the vaccination rollout.

Vaccine programme resumes

The COVID-19 vaccination programme resumed on Thursday 19 August throughout New Zealand, operating under alert level 4 conditions.

This will look a bit different – with vaccination sites operating under alert level 4 conditions our capacity will be reduced due to physical distancing requirements and other safety measures.

The reduced capacity means we may need to postpone some appointments. If we need to postpone your appointment you will be contacted by the Ministry of Health, your District Health Board or healthcare provider. If you don’t hear from us, please come to your appointment as scheduled.

The 40+ age band is now open too  – anyone in that age band can now visit bookmyvaccine.nz or phone the COVID Vaccine Healthline 0800 28 29 26 to book. Or check with your GP or pharmacy, as they may be taking bookings directly.

Vaccine rollout passes 2.5 million doses

By midnight on Tuesday 17 August, more than 2.5 million vaccine doses had been given – 1,655,598 first doses and 954,415 second doses.

You’ll find regularly updated vaccine information on our website.

Recent update on gap between vaccine doses

Last week, the vaccine rollout was accelerated so more people could have their first does of COVID-19 vaccine sooner. The standard gap between first and second vaccine doses is now 6 weeks or more (effective 12 August). This is an important part of New Zealand being prepared for a possible outbreak of the more infectious Delta variant of the virus.

If you have already had your two doses closer together than six-weeks, you have received great protection against COVID-19. 

If you have vaccinations booked that are less than six weeks apart, you can keep your second appointment or choose to change it. For example, people with specific clinical treatment plans (such as those about to commence immunosuppressive treatment) or those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 like border workers may be advised to have their doses with a shorter gap. The two doses must be given at least 21 days apart.

We also know people travelling overseas may require their doses sooner. This is okay too – it’s better to get two doses of the vaccine before travelling if possible.

The important thing is that you get two doses to be fully vaccinated.

To make or change a vaccine booking, go to BookMyVaccine.nz or phone the COVID Vaccine Healthline on 0800 28 29 26. New bookings now default to six-weeks between first and second doses. If you’ve booked with your GP or pharmacy and want to change your appointment, contact them.

Information about the change is also available in alternate formats on our website:

Easy Read: Update about the gap between the COVID-19 vaccines
New Zealand Sign Language: Change to the recommended vaccine dose gap
Large print and audio: Change to recommended vaccine dose gap

Group 4 age bands opening sooner

Increasingly, the Group 4 age bands are opening as more vaccination sites open (including many general practices and pharmacies). If your age band hasn’t yet opened, you can register your details on bookymyvaccine.nz to get a text or email when it does open. Everyone aged 12 and over will be able to book from 1 September.

12 –15-year-olds can be vaccinated with their family

Young people aged 1215 will be able to join parents or caregivers getting their vaccination, making it easier for families to get vaccinated together.

Medsafe gave provisional approval for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12–15-year-olds in New Zealand in June. The government has now approved the vaccine for use for 12–15-year-olds.

From Friday 20 August, as parents or guardians become eligible to book their vaccine, they can also book any 12–15-year-olds in their family or whānau.

People who already have a booking may be able to add to an existing booking or make an additional booking for their 12-15-year-old.

There are several ways young people aged 12–15 and their family or whānau can get their vaccine, including: 

  • at a community vaccination hub 
  • at a GP or community pharmacy offering the vaccine 
  • at other community-based sites such as faith-based locations or marae. 

At this stage, the COVID-19 vaccine willnot be available to children through their school-based vaccination programme. We will keep you updated on any changes in that area.

To make or change a booking:

  • go to BookMyVaccine.nz
  • phone the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26, (8am-8pm, 7 days a week).

If you’ve already booked directly with your GP or pharmacy, talk to them about adding family members.

About Mason Head

Mason Head
Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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