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Maintain Vigilance To Protect Against COVID-19 This Summer

COVID-19 continues to spread in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts, and the local Medical Officer of Health is reminding people to be extremely vigilant.

With well over 250 cases of COVID-19 reported across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions since the start of December, and cases notified daily, the risk of COVID-19 infection is clear. Almost every community in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes has had one or more cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks.

“The advice to everyone is to remain very vigilant in the practice of public health measures and monitor for symptoms in yourself and your loved ones, at all times and no matter where you go,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.

“Taking care of your COVID risk means, get vaccinated, wear a face mask where you should, wash your hands and keep your distance. Anyone you meet could have COVID-19 so take care, stay alert for symptoms, and get tested and stay home if you are concerned,” says Dr Miller.

Vaccination is the best defence against COVID-19 and is currently available to everyone 12 years and older. The vaccine will also be available for children aged 5 to 11 years from 17 January. Bookings can be made directly with general practices, Hauora providers, or community pharmacies, or by going to BookMyVaccine.nz.

The continually increasing numbers of COVID-19 Delta variant in our region and recent arrival of the Omicron variant in Aotearoa New Zealand is a timely reminder of the importance of vaccination. “We know this is our best defence against COVID-19,” says Dr Miller “it is imperative that we get our vaccination rates as high as we can in the region to protect ourselves and each other.”

For people aged 18 years and older, a booster shot is available, providing better protection against the Omicron variant than the two-dose course. From 5 January, booster shots can be received four months after a second shot. People can book in for a booster shot by making an appointment directly with general practices, Hauora providers, or community pharmacies. From 17 January, these can also be booked by going to BookMyVaccine.nz.

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