Ministers will meet on Friday to discuss whether to bring forward the booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as the first case of the Omicron variant emerged in New Zealand.
Our first Omicron case was discovered in a Christchurch MIQ facility, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
While Bloomfield said the country is "well prepared" for the emergence of Omicron, interim measures may include shortening the time between the second dose and booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine.
He said data had shown that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were sufficient to be 40 per cent effective in preventing symptomatic illness, but three doses provided 80-90 per cent efficacy.
“That’s good news because this is a good vaccine – it’s the vaccine we are using for our booster programme.”
“The question is do we shorten that interval between the second and third dose.
“We are providing advice to ministers who will be considering this tomorrow,” Bloomfield said.
He said more booster doses were set to arrive “over the coming months” but would not be drawn into what the shorter time-frame might be.
“It would something less than six and more than zero.”
Currently people in New Zealand are eligible for a booster shot six months after their second dose.