Vaccine update – October 2021: third dose approved for people who are severely immunocompromised

Vaccine doses pass 6 million

At midnight on 20 October 2021, more than 6.4 million vaccine doses had been given – 3.6 million first doses and 2.8 million second doses. That means 68% of the eligible population are now fully vaccinated. View the full breakdown of vaccine data here.

Third Primary Dose for people with severe immunocompromise

The Ministry of Health has announced that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine would be available for people who are severely immunocompromised. This includes people:

  • with primary or acquired immunodeficiency states at the time of vaccination.
  • on immunosuppressive or immunomodulating therapy at the time of vaccination.
  • with chronic immune-mediated inflammatory disease who were receiving or had received immunosuppressive therapy prior to vaccination.

The Ministry of Health anticipates this option will only be suitable for a very small group of the population.

Those eligible will be contacted by their GP or Specialist and invited to make an appointment. Alternatively, people can contact their GP or Specialist to see if they are eligible.

To get their third dose, patients must show a script from a medical practitioner and a written consent form (co-signed by the medical practitioner) to receive a third primary dose. The jab can be administered at any vaccination clinics.  

The third dose must be administered at least 8 weeks following the second dose.  

For more information about eligibility and how to access a third primary dose, see The Ministry of Health’s website.

Vaccine mandate for healthcare workers – dates extended

Earlier this month, the Government moved a vaccination mandate for anyone carrying out high-risk work in the health and disability sector. Workers must receive their first dose of the vaccine by 15 November 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022. This is a two-week extension to the original dates of 30 October (for first dose) and 1 December.

For those of us working in (or associated with) the health sector, it’s important we understand how the vaccine mandate might impact our business (and our ability to do our jobs).  Find out more information about mandatory vaccines.

Government looking to order second vaccine option

The Ministry of Health has hinted that it is looking at alternative vaccines for people who react badly to the Pfizer shot or are hesitant about taking an mRNA vaccine. Hopefully there is more announcements to come about this in the coming weeks.

Photo credit: Spencer Davis on Unsplash

About Mason Head

Mason Head
Content Creator and Publication Lead at Eldernet

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