Covid-19 vaccine update: June 2021

As of 22 June 2021, 325,000 New Zealanders have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (which is about 6.6% of the total population), while more than 829,000 people have had their first does of the vaccine.

Vaccinations are currently underway for Group 3: that is people aged 65 or older, those with relevant underlying health conditions or who are disabled (or a carer), you can expect to receive your vaccine soon, if you haven’t already. Underlying health conditions so far include:

  • serious and chronic respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • chronic kidney/renal disease
  • diabetes
  • coronary heart conditions
  • stroke
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • cancer, excluding basal and squamous skin cancers if not invasive.

How will I know when it is my turn?
Each district health board (DHB) around New Zealand is managing the rollout of the vaccine in their area. Exactly how and when people are contacted may differ between regions.

Vaccinations will be available at a range of locations, including pop-up centres, GPs, Māori and Pacific healthcare providers, mobile clinics and community clinics.

Click on your DHB from the list below to get updates from your region:  

North Island

South Island

If you’re not sure which district health board (DHB) provides services for your area, check the Ministry of Health website.

Ministry of Health — My DHB

Find more information about vaccine rollouts here.

New Zealand’s vaccine supply

Over the past couple of days chatter has increased in media and communities about Aotearoa’s vaccine supply.

New Zealand is ahead of schedule in the vaccine roll-out. There is sufficient supply of the Pfizer vaccine for DHBs to deliver half a million vaccinations as planned over the next five weeks. Half a million doses in five weeks is great progress after the first 500,000 took three months.

The Ministry of Health knew stocks of the vaccine could be tight at some stage and now know that will be over the next five weeks. This will mean that DHBs will carefully manage supply and bookings throughout the next five weeks.

What this will mean for people wanting a vaccine during this period:

  • Current bookings will not be affected
  • Walk-ins vaccinations will not be accommodated
  • All vaccinations will require appointments

Understandably, some people in group 3 (those over the age of 65, people with disabilities, pregnant people and certain health conditions) are anxious to know when they will receive their vaccination. The Ministry of Health has asked DHBs to ensure people in this group receive an invitation to be vaccinated by the end of July at the latest. That way people know the answers to some of their most asked questions – when, how and where can I book.

I’m due to receive a flu vaccine too – can I have the Covid-19 and flu vaccines together?
It’s important to understand that you need two weeks between getting the flu jab and getting your Covid vaccine. Having a gap between different types of vaccinations helps authorities be sure about any side effects that may occur.

This means:

If you already have an appointment for your Covid-19 vaccination, get this first. You can have your flu immunisation two weeks or more after your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

If you don’t have an appointment booked for your Covid-19 vaccination, you can get your influenza immunisation first.

Is the vaccine safe?
Clinical trials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (the vaccine that is being rolled out throughout the country) show that is has been up to 95% effective. Everyone responds differently to medicines, however, which means no vaccine is ever 100 percent safe. Some people may experience mild side effects, such as redness around the injection site, a headache, dizziness, or sore muscles for a few days – this is evidence that the vaccine has started activating the immune system. In very rare cases, some people may experience more severe reactions.

There is a lot of dangerous and unsubstantiated misinformation being circulated regarding the risks of vaccinations. Importantly, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 and there is no possibility it could affect your DNA/genes. Rigorous scientific research has found no link between vaccines and any long-term severe health problems. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not contain animal products, so it is safe for people with allergies to egg-based vaccines.

If you have any underlying health issues or concerns, ensure you get advice from a medical professional before being vaccinated. For more information about vaccine safety, visit covid.govt.nz or health.govt.nz.

It is important to remember that receiving the vaccine is your choice. No one, including a health professional, family member or friend, can force you to be vaccinated. Search out unbiased and accredited resources to help you make an informed choice.

Photo credit: Hakan Nural on Unsplash

About Mason Head

Mason Head
Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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