New Zealand will start administering Covid-19 booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine from November 29, a Minister said here on Monday.
The country's regulatory authority Medsafe has already approved the use of Pfizer as a booster for people above 18, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told a press conference.
The decision followed further advice to the cabinet from the vaccine technical advisory group, reports Xinhua news agency.
"Vaccination is the best protection against Covid-19. Booster doses will be available free for anyone in New Zealand aged 18 or older who has completed their two-dose course more than six months ago," Hipkins said, adding people will be able to access boosters in New Zealand, whether they received their earlier doses here or overseas.
The Pfizer vaccine will be used for boosters, regardless of which vaccine was used for earlier doses. It is the same one used for the first two doses in the vaccination rollout, he said.
"While most other countries are rationing boosters to certain groups, we have made the decision to make boosters available to everyone. That ensures simplicity and equity," said the minister.
"People are eligible to take up the offer of a booster once six months have passed since their second dose, but there's no need to rush to get the booster. The science shows fully vaccinated people remain really well protected from infection, and from being seriously ill if they do get Covid-19," he added.
Hipkins said healthcare and border workers are a priority group for booster vaccine doses because they are on the front line against Covid-19 and because large numbers of them completed their vaccine course six months or longer ago.
Older people including people in residential care are also a priority to access booster doses.
There are currently 144,000 people in New Zealand who have been vaccinated for six months and 455,847 who will be by the end of the year, he said.