This update (31 March) shares key information about the Government’s response to COVID-19. 

Key things to note:

  • The first batch of Paxlovid Covid treatment has arrived in New Zealand.
  • The flu vaccine is available from tomorrow, 1 April.
  • As of yesterday, 14.4% of all cases were aged nine or under, and 17.4% were aged 10-19 – a pattern which has been similar for the past 90 days. About a third of reported cases are in children and teens.
  • There are currently 830 people in hospitals across New Zealand. 28 cases are in high dependency or intensive care units.
  • Earlier this year the Ministry of Health launched a nationwide survey to find out from parents or guardians of 5 – 11-year-olds what side effects if any, their tamariki have experienced following the pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.
  • A three-month wait is recommended after someone tests positive for COVID-19 before getting any COVID-19 vaccination.
  • New Zealand to donate further COVID 19 vaccines to Fiji.

The first batch of Paxlovid Covid treatment has arrived in New Zealand.

  • The first batch of Paxlovid coming this year – consisting of 60,000 courses – has arrived and will be used from next week.
  • New Zealand is boosting its suite of medicines to treat COVID-19 with the arrival in the country of, Paxlovid, the first oral treatment for COVID-19 available in New Zealand for use by primary care and pharmacies from next week.
  • Paxlovid will start being offered to those most at risk. It will be prescribed by doctors, with factors such as age, disability, and being immuno-compromised taken into account.

The latest analysis from the Ministry of Health indicates decreasing infection trends for the central and midland regions (Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Hauora Tairāwhiti, Taranaki and Waikato)

  • The pattern of outbreaks seen in cities and in DHBs that have cities that dominate their regions such as Capital & Coast and Hutt Valley is different from the pattern seen in areas with their populations more dispersed.
  • In Auckland and Wellington, there have been rapid peaks of cases and then case numbers quickly dropped away.
  • In DHBs with populations spread around their regions, like Waikato and Southern, what has been observed is high rates being sustained for longer as the virus moves around the region and we are likely to see it taking longer for case numbers to drop away.
  • Currently, Māori has the highest case rates at 31 per 1,000 population, second are European or Other with 21.7 per 1000 population then Pacific People with 20.8 per 1,000 population, and with Asian having the lowest case rates at 17.8 per 1,000 population.

Youth (tamariki) health case trends

  • In terms of hospitalisations children are at lower risk.
  • As of yesterday, in the Northern Region hospitals, out of a total of 817 people in hospital with COVID-19, there were 15 admissions aged 0-9 (six Māori, four Pasifika, and five non-Māori, non-Pacific children), and 14 children aged 10-19 (five Māori, three Pasifika, and six non-Māori, non-Pacific).

Flu vaccination available from 1 April.

  • The flu vaccine will be available from tomorrow, 1 April. More than 361,000 doses have been distributed around Aotearoa and another 625,000 doses are due to be delivered over the coming months.
  • If you’ve just had COVID-19 it’s OK to get the flu vaccination as soon as you’ve finished your isolation period, and so long as you don’t have a fever.
  • Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine, you still need to take the flu vaccine and vice versa. Having one doesn’t protect you against the other disease, you need both vaccines.