Boosters begin today as Public Health expert urges Niue government to update Covid protocols to deal with Omicron

Public health expert and Associate Professor at Auckland University Dr. Colin Tukuitonga says that the Niue government needs to update the island’s covid 19 protocols given the increasing number of cases of the new variant Omicron around the world.

He told BCN news last week, that the protocols in place for the Delta variant will not be the same for Omicron.

Dr. Colin Tukuitonga says that there are a few priority areas to be considered.

“Most urgent at this stage is for the eligible population on the island to receive their booster shots and for the children 5 to 11-year-olds to receive their first dose of the Pfizer paediatric vaccine” says Dr. Tukuitonga.

He told BCN news that the booster shots are urgent because “the two doses of the Pfizer vaccine does not protect people from Omicron”.

Today the Niuefoou hospital was quite busy with the carpark completely full and parking along the drive and under the coconut trees as people turn up for their booster shots.

The locals eighteen years and older who have received two shots of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year will from today take their booster.

According to the Public Health team, more than one thousand people are eligible to take their booster including those who took their shots in New Zealand, they too can receive their booster.

The Niue Health department will over the next two weeks administer the booster shots however there has been no response to questions as to when the children five to eleven years olds will receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tukuitonga says that there are a few priority areas the government ought to consider and update its protocols.

The five priority considerations include.

  • Urgent rollout of the booster vaccine for the eligible adult population
  • Begin the vaccination of the children 5 -11 year old children with the Pfizer paediatric vaccine
  • The government should update the supply of masks on the island. Type N100 for frontline workers and KF94 for members of the public.
  • There is also the need to improve ventilation in schools and hospital and public buildings.
  • The other key priority is for people to start practicing social distancing and avoid large gatherings.

Dr. Tukuitonga says that “the Niue government needs a plan to respond to Omicron and not rely on the old plans for Delta”.

BCN News reached out last week to the government’s senior officials for comment on Dr. Tukuitonga’s comments but they did not respond.

Niue’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is assisted by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and WHO advisors.

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