Ngā tikanga hou KOWHEORI-19 New COVID-19 changes

Aotearoa moved on from the COVID-19 traffic lights on 13 September 2022. There are several changes your whānau needs to know about.

  • You need to stay at home for seven days if you get COVID-19.
  • People who live at your whare no longer have to stay at home if you get COVID-19. But they should take a RAT test every day for five days from when you tested positive. If they test positive, they will have to isolate.
  • You don’t have to wear masks anymore, except in some health care places like the doctor, pharmacies, hospitals and aged residential care centres.
  • Māori and Pacific people aged 50+ can get free COVID-19 antiviral medicine if they test positive.
  • Other New Zealanders aged 65+ can also get free COVID-19 antivirals, as can some people with three or more high-risk conditions.
  • People coming into Aotearoa from overseas don’t have to be vaccinated anymore.
  • All government vaccine mandates will end on 27 September 2022. But some employers might require workers to be vaccinated. 

You can read more about the changes on the Unite against COVID-19 website.

Unite against COVID-19

You only have to wear a mask when visiting health care places like the doctor, pharmacies, hospitals and aged care centres.

But you can choose to wear a mask whenever you feel you need to, or to help keep our kaumātua, māuiui and immunocompromised whānau safe.

Also, if you get COVID-19, people who live at your whare can choose to wear a mask when out in public, just in case.

Āe, your marae can choose to put their own tikanga in place to keep whānau safe. 

Other social places, like churches, might choose to ask people to wear a mask. Kei a koutou te tikanga.

You need to stay at home for seven days if you get COVID-19.

Visit our What to do if you get COVID-19 page for more information.

What to do if you get COVID-19

People who live at your whare no longer have to stay at home if you get COVID-19.

But they should take a RAT test every day for five days from when you tested positive. If they test positive, they will have to isolate.

Antivirals are medicines that help people recover from the effects of COVID-19. Most antiviral medicines are taken in tablet form, but some people will need to receive them by injection. They are most effective if started within the first few days of getting COVID-19.

Some pharmacies can deliver the medicines to you. If your pharmacy doesn’t deliver, you will need to get them delivered to you by whānau, friends, or your hauora provider.

If you have a prescription from your doctor or nurse, visit the Healthpoint online map to find a pharmacy near you to collect it.

Find a pharmacy

If you don’t have a prescription, talk to a pharmacist or your hauora provider first to see if the medicines are right for you.

You can also read more about antivirals on the Ministry of Health website.

Ministry of Health

Āe. Use our online map tool to find a COVID-19 test or vaccination from a kaupapa Māori clinic near you.

Where to get a vax or test

Āe. If you have COVID-19 or flu symptoms, you should stay at home and get a test. This will help you know if you need to isolate, so you don’t spread the virus to others.

  • Wear a face mask when you feel unsafe.
  • Be mindful of how close you get to people you don’t live with.
  • Try to avoid large crowds.
  • Let fresh air into your whare and meet friends and whānau outside.
  • Ask manuhiri who do not live with you to take a RAT test before they visit.

Even though some restrictions have been lifted, we can still make good decisions to keep whānau and others safe from COVID-19.

  • Wear a mask when around our kaumātua, māuiui and immunocompromised whānau.
  • If it makes you feel comfortable, wear a mask on public transport and at indoor locations.
  • Stay home and get tested if you feel ill and remind others to do so if they are māuiui.
  • Follow good hygiene practices. 
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Visit our preparing for COVID-19 page for more information.

Preparing for COVID-19

Te whiwhi i te rongoā āraimate Getting vaccinated

If you get a vax, you might get some side effects. These are usually mild and only last for a few days.

Common side effects can include:

  • redness, pain or swelling on the arm
  • a headache
  • feeling tired or fatigued
  • muscle aches
  • feeling generally unwell
  • chills
  • fever
  • joint pain

These side effects are common and show the vaccine is working. Getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids will help. Severe reactions to the vaccine are very rare and usually occur straight away after the vaccination. 

If you have any questions or concerns after your vaccinations, contact your doctor or hauora provider.

For more information on side effects, visit the vaccine side effects and reactions page on the Ministry of Health website.

COVID-19: Pfizer vaccine side effects and reactions

 

Most people will need two primary doses and a booster.

Immunocompromised can get a third primary dose. 

Whānau 50+ and immunocompromised can get two boosters.

Anyone over the age of 5 years and who is eligible can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

A booster shot provides more protection against COVID-19. For whānau aged 16 and over and who are not at risk, two doses of the vaccine and a booster shot is recommended. For those at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, a second booster shot six months after your first booster shot is recommended.

 

Pfizer is the preferred choice of vaccine for most people. If you are 18 or older, there are alternative options you can consider. Talk to your doctor or hauora provider about which option best suits you.

For more information about vaccines, visit the COVID-19 vaccines used in New Zealand page on the Unite against COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 vaccines used in New Zealand

Current evidence shows your protection against infection after two doses slowly decreases over time. A booster dose will give you greater immunity against COVID-19.  A booster will also help reduce the likelihood of becoming seriously ill, and you will be less likely to have to go to hospital if you get COVID-19.

He aha te take me whai okanga āraimate? Why vaccinate?

The vaccine teaches our immune system to recognise and fight the virus. It can’t give you COVID-19 because it doesn’t contain the virus. It doesn’t affect our DNA. The vaccine leaves your body within a few days, leaving your immune system ready to respond if you get COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated means you are far less likely to get seriously ill and have to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19.

It is harder for the virus to spread between people who are vaccinated, but it does happen. This is why it is important to keep up good hygiene practices and get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

In Aotearoa, vaccines are assessed by the Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, known as Medsafe.

Medsafe will only approve a vaccine if it is confident it meets national and international standards for quality and safety.

 

There is only a tiny percentage of the population who shouldn't have a COVID-19 vaccine. These are people who will have a severe allergic reaction to it. 

You should talk this through with your doctor or trusted hauora kaimahi.

You are generally encouraged to get vaccinated if you have a condition like cancer, diabetes, kidney disease or heart disease. This is because if you catch COVID-19, you are more likely to get seriously ill and end up in hospital.

Experts believe it is as safe for hapū māmā as it is for everyone else. This is because the vaccine does not contain the live virus so it can’t give you or your pēpi COVID-19. If you’re hapū, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy. Boosters are also recommended.

If you're breastfeeding, you can receive COVID-19 vaccines. There are no safety concerns for you or your pēpi. Vaccinating during pregnancy may also help protect your pēpi, as there’s evidence that infants can get antibodies to the virus through cord blood and breast milk.

Most people who get COVID-19 recover completely after two to six weeks and make a full recovery within 12 weeks.

However, some experience a range of symptoms beyond the standard time of recovery.

Symptoms can include:

  • fatigue
  • breathlessness
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • chest tightness
  • chest pain
  • difficulty concentrating
  • cognitive impairment or 'brain fog'
  • difficulty sleeping
  • pins and needles
  • dizziness
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain.

 

If you are hapū, trying to get hapū or breastfeeding, you are encouraged to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Rongoā āraimate mō ngā tamariki Vaccinations for tamariki

Parents and caregivers can get their tamariki aged 5+ immunised from COVID-19.

Tamariki will need two doses to be fully protected. The doses should be at least eight weeks apart. The time between doses could be reduced to 21 days if needed, for example, if your child is starting significant immunosuppression treatment.

The Pfizer vaccine has gone through clinical trials with thousands of tamariki aged 5-11 years. The reported side effects were mild and short-term, like those experienced from other routine vaccines. 

The vaccine is safe for children with food allergies. There is no food, gelatine or latex in the Pfizer vaccine.

There are a few practical things you can do to help your tamariki when they get a vax:

  • make sure they have had something to eat or drink beforehand
  • dress them in clothing that allows access to their upper arm
  • bring a fun distraction, such as a toy.

Just like with any other immunisation, tamariki can get redness, pain or swelling on their arm. Other reactions that can occur include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • feeling sick, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • fatigue
  • general discomfort, feeling unwell, or aches and pains.

These side effects are common and show the vaccine is working. 

You can use our online map tool to find a kaupapa Māori clinic near you.

Find a clinic

You can book a whānau or group by phoning Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.