Michael Baker urges eligible Kiwis to get new Covid booster

‘Oku taupotu ‘i lalo ha fakamatala fakaTonga

Epidemiologist Michael Baker has urged eligible Kiwis to get the new bivalent Covid-19 booster to stay better protected from Omicron as New Zealand heads into winter.

The new booster is available from tomorrow for anyone aged 30 or over, and anyone at an increased risk of severe illness from Covid, provided it’s been six months since their last booster or positive test and they’ve completed their primary course (two doses).

It does not matter how many previous booster doses that person has had.

It has been available since March 1 for people aged 16 or over who hadn’t yet had their first booster, and for people at an increased risk of severe illness from Covid who have not yet had their first or second booster.

Baker told Breakfast “we’re entering our fourth wave of Covid-19 infection in New Zealand”.

“It’s a smaller wave than the previous three but… it’s the biggest infectious disease killer still in New Zealand,” he said.

“Technically it’s still a pandemic but it’s definitely not an emergency any more,” he added.

But with winter on the way, the new booster is a “welcome advance” in the battle against Omicron, he said.

“It’s got a second component that’s matched to the Omicron variant that’s circulating, so that gives much better protection and it produces a broader range of antibodies, it reduces your chance of getting seriously ill and dying from this infection,” Baker explained.

“A bit like the way the flu vaccine is revised every year or two to keep ahead of the range of flu viruses, this is doing the same thing, and I think we’re moving now to potentially having an annual Omicron injection just like with a flu vaccine.

“That just reflects the fact that we have what’s called waning immunity, so we need to boost that, and also the fact that the virus keeps evolving and we have to modify the vaccines to keep ahead of it.

“I just really hope that people will get this new booster now that it’s available.”

Asked what kind of uptake could be expected, Baker said that ideally 90% of eligible Kiwis would get the additional dose.

“We did very well with the primary course, that’s the two injections, so hopefully we can get there with the booster.”

It comes as this year’s flu vaccine is also available from tomorrow.

Flu vaccines are free for people most likely to get seriously ill. Anyone aged over six months can get one.

FAKAMATALA FAKATONGA

Kuo fakalotolahia ‘e he epitemolosisi ko Michael Baker ‘a e kau Kiwi kuo ‘atā ke nau huhu ‘i he huhu pusita fo’ou bivalent Covid-19 ke malu’i kinautolu mei he omikoloni ‘i he fakaofi mai ko eni ‘a e fa’ahi ta’u momoko.

E ‘atā ‘a e pusita fo’ou ko eni ‘apongipongi kia kinautolu ta’u 30 mo laka hake ha taha ‘oku ‘oku fakalalahi ‘ene puke lahi mei he Koviti, koloa pe ke osi ‘a e mahina ‘e ono mei he’enau pusita fakamuimui, pe tesi positivi ka kuo fakakakato ‘a e ongo ‘uluaki huhu malu’i ‘e ua.

‘E ‘ikai lau ia pe ko e huhu pusita ‘e fiha ‘a e taha ko ia ki mu’a’.

Na’e ‘atā ‘eni talu mei Ma’asi ki he kakai ta’u 16 pe laka hake ka ne teeki ma’u ‘enau fuofua huhu pusitaa’, pea mo e kakai fakalalahi ‘enau puke he Koviti mo kinautolu te’eki fakahoko ‘enau pusita ‘uluaki pe ua.

Ne fakaha ‘e Baker ki he Breakfast kuo hu atu ‘eni ‘a Nu’u Sila ki he kau peau hono fa ‘o e Koviti’.

Ko e ki’i kaupeau si’isi’i ia ‘i he peau ‘e tolu ki mu’a … ko e mahaki pipihi tamate lahi taha ‘eni ‘oku kei Nu’u Sila.

I he lau fakatekinikale ‘oku kei panatemiki ka ‘oku ‘ikai kei hoko ko ha fiema’u fakavavevave, ko ene lau ia.

Ka ‘i he kei fononga mai ‘a e fa’ahi ta’u momoko, kuo hoko ‘a e pusitaa ko hano talitali tomu’a ia ‘i hono tau’i ‘o e ‘omikoloni’.

Oku ne ma’u ‘e ia ‘a e komiponeni hono ua ‘e lava ke ne fakafepaki’i ‘a e fotunga fo’ou e Omikoloni ‘oku kei filo holo, ‘a ia ‘oku lahi ange ai ‘a e malu’i lelei pea ne fakaai ha ‘enitipoti lahi ange, fakasi’isi’i hono faingamalie ki he puke lahi mo mate mei he pipihi’, ko Baker ia.

Oku mei hange pe ia ko e founga ‘oku toe fakafo’ou’aki ‘a e huhu malu’i fuluu’ he ta’u taki taha pe taki ta’u ua, ke tō mu’a ma’u pe teuteu ki he vailasi, pea ‘oku tatau pe ia mo ‘eni, pea oku ou tui ‘oku tau unu atu ‘en ke fakahoko ha huhu malu’i  ‘omikoloni fakata’u tatau pe mo e fuluu’.

I hano ‘eke ki ha fakafuofua ki ha tokolahi o kinautolu ‘e ma’u faingamalie ne pehe e Baker i he anga e fakakaukau e ‘i he peseti ‘e 90 o kinautolu kau Kiwi ‘atā ki ha toe huhu tanaki.

Hoko mai foki eni hili e mahino ‘e kamata ‘a pongipongi ‘a e ‘ata ‘a e huhu malu’i fuluu’.

Oku ta’etotongi pe ‘a e huhu malu’i fuluu ki he kakai ngalingali te nau puke lahi. Ko ha taha pe oku laka hake he mahina ono hono ta’u ‘oku ‘atā.

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