All District Health Boards have completed a key part of the Government’s preparations for Omicron with the roll out of boosters to staff and residents in all aged residential care facilities in New Zealand, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
“Older New Zealanders living in aged care facilities are some of the most vulnerable groups so the completion of the booster rollout in all aged care facilities prior to an Omicron outbreak means we are well prepared,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
“The most important thing anyone, including seniors can do to protect themselves and their loved ones is get boosted. That’s why we rolled out boosters to older New Zealanders early.
“Ninety-nine percent of people over the age of 65 are fully vaccinated and 85 percent have now been boosted. This is an excellent turn out and we expect many more New Zealanders to do so as Omicron cases increase.
“Rising Omicron cases may cause some anxiety for our seniors and their whānau and that’s completely understandable given what we have seen overseas.
“In addition to boosters, we are also bolstering testing of staff in aged residential care when we move to Phase Two and we will ensure that anyone working or living in these facilities with symptoms will be prioritised for a PCR test to protect high risk residents.
“On top of that, from Phase Two, aged residential care facilities are able to test asymptomatic visitors using rapid antigen tests.
“I want to acknowledge the work of the staff in these facilities during the pandemic. The Ministry of Health will be working with and supporting Aged Residential Care facilities to ensure their infection prevention controls are of the highest standard,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.