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Weekly Update Issue 42 - Thursday 10 March, 2022

Taranaki Programme Weekly Update

As we see the number of cases starting to peak, we can also appreciate how effective the COVID-19 vaccination programme has been in lessening symptoms and helping to keep people out of hospital.

Currently we have 3,470 active cases in Taranaki and only 10 of those are in need of hospital care. We have no-one in ICU. A similar picture can been seen nationally - people aren't getting as sick as we have seen in other countries because New Zealand was able to roll-out a comprehensive vaccination programme before the virus really hit us.

The lockdowns and restrictions have been worth it.

But we are not out of the woods yet. The modelling suggests that we are just reaching the peak of the infection rate now, so there are many cases to come. We need to remain diligent about social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising and staying home if we are sick, even if a RATs or PCR test comes back negative.

And it is not too late to be vaccinated or to receive your booster shot. You will still benefit from the protection vaccination gives you by helping to make it less likely that you catch the virus, or that you will get seriously ill if you do. It also helps reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others, which is good news for those who can't be vaccinated because they are immunocompromised.

It is interesting to note that we are seeing the most cases of COVID-19 in the under-30 age group, where we also saw a limited vaccination take-up - check out Taranaki Covid cases surging among the under-30s |

If you have been vaccinated, making sure you get your booster shot gives you even more protection. Check out the graphics in this article - Covid-19: The charts that show why a booster is so important | - more evidence should it be needed that vaccination works.

It's not too late to get vaccinated.

To keep up to date with the situation in Taranaki, like the Taranaki District Health Board Facebook page and check TDHB - COVID-19 regularly for updates.

Don’t miss out – get your measles vaccination too!

Are you one of the people who missed out on receiving your measles vaccination when you were a child?

If you are aged between 15 and 30 years, it is likely that you did – but there is no need to worry because you can get it now at the same time as your COVID-19 booster shot.

The Measles vaccination, which also protects you from mumps and rubella will be available at all Taranaki DHB Covid-19 clinics from now on – all you have to do is ask for it.

If you are unsure if you received the MMR vaccination when you were a child, contact your GP or Health provider, or check your Plunket Well Child book if you still have it. It doesn’t matter if you can’t confirm one way or the other, it is perfectly safe to get it again.

Measles is an extremely contagious (more transmissible than Omicron) disease. Around 1 in 10 people who catch it will need hospital care. It holds higher risks for children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 20 years of age, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.   

Mumps and Rubella can also cause long-term health issues, such as infertility in men, and can damage a developing foetus, causing significant and lifelong disabilities.

We do not currently have measles in New Zealand, but as our borders begin to open up, it will be brought in by an overseas visitors, or by someone returning home after being abroad. It is vital that 95% of our population are vaccinated to gain herd immunity to keep these diseases in check.

The MMR vaccine has been used in New Zealand for decades and is proven to be safe and effective – fewer than 1 in 10 experience anything more than very mild side effects, and, after two doses, 99% of people are protected.

It is made up of weakened forms of the three viruses, which trigger your immune system to make protective antibodies so that most people do not catch the virus if they come into contact with someone who has the disease.

So come into any COVID-19 vaccination clinics and request your vaccinations to ensure you are protected against measles, mumps, rubella AND COVID-19.

Time for tamariki to get their second dose

Monday 14 March signals eight weeks since the rollout of vaccinations for children aged 5 - 11 years old began, so tamariki who received their first dose in January will soon be due their second.

You can work out when your child is due for their second dose by checking the vaccination card you may have been given recording the date at their first dose.

If you did not receive a card, or can no longer locate it, you can call 0800 28 29 26 (8am-8pm, 7 days) and request that information.

Our main vaccination clinic is open after school hours during the week (Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri 9am - 6pm, Thursday 12pm - 8pm) and 9am - 4.30m on Saturdays and 12pm - 8pm on Sundays.

Rural clinics are also being held around the mountain - visit TDHB - COVID-19 vaccine to find out where and when, plus details of other pop-up clinics being held by Tui Ora. Don't forget too that Ngati Ruanui have walk-in vaccinations available 9am - 3pm Monday to Friday.

If your tamariki still need to get their first dose, it's not too late. Side effects experienced by children are usually very mild, consisting of a sore arm and feeling a bit tired for a day or two, and receiving the vaccination isn't as traumatic as parents may think!
If you have any concerns about getting your child/ren vaccinated against COVID-19, please do come in and talk to our friendly team who are more than happy to answer questions and talk through concerns - with no pressure to make any decisions then and there.

Novovax rollout begins

Those wishing to receive the Novovax COVID-19 vaccine can book into dedicated clinics from today via Book My Vaccine or by calling 0800 28 29 26 ( 8am-8pm, 7 days).

Clinics will be held every Wednesday between 5pm and 6.30pm from March 23. There is also an initial clinic on Friday 18 March between 4pm and 5pm.

Novovax is a protein-based vaccine, but works in the same way as Pfizer and AstraZeneca by training your immune system to recognise and fight the spike protein on the SARS-COV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19, but they each use different technology.
  • The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine contains a copy of the SARS-COV-2 spike protein to teach your body how to recognise and fight COVID-19. The vaccine also includes a saponin-based adjuvant, which is an ingredient that helps the vaccine to create a robust immune response. Protein subunit vaccine technology has been used since the mid-1980s, initially to fight against hepatitis B then later for other illnesses such as influenza, pertussis (whooping cough), cholera, diphtheria, human papillomavirus, malaria, and meningococcal disease.
  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) that is wrapped in a tiny bubble of fat. The mRNA codes for the SARS-COV-2 spike protein, which prompts your body to make copies of the spike proteins like those on the outside of the SARS-COV-2 virus. These copies then teach your immune system to recognise and fight the virus. mRNA vaccine technology has been in development for several years, to fight against disease like rabies and ebola.
  • AstraZeneca vaccine uses a harmless manufactured virus – called a viral vector – to deliver the spike protein into your body, which then teaches your body how to recognise and fight COVID-19. Viral vector vaccine technology has been used for many years, to fight against disease like ebola.

If you wish, you can receive the Novovax vaccine as a second dose, but you do need clearance and a prescription from your GP. Novovax is not approved as a booster vaccine, and there is no current application lodged with Medsafe for consideration.

For more information about the Novovax vaccination, visit COVID-19 vaccines: Getting Novavax | Ministry of Health NZ

Want AstraZeneca? Just ask!

If you would prefer to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine to protect yourself against COVID-19, just ask at any of the Taranaki DHB vaccination clinics!

Where can I get vaccinated?

Check out the Taranaki DHB website for the latest updates on clinics and other important information

Tui Ora, Ngati Ruanui and Ngaruahine regularly post information about clinics on their Facebook pages so are well worth checking out.

COVID-19 Vaccination • Taranaki • Healthpoint has information about community pharmacies and GP clinics - not all our partner-providers are offering paediatric vaccinations so it's best to check (and book) before you go.

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TDHB · David Street · New Plymouth, Taranaki 4310 · New Zealand

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