As of this morning, one thousand and fifty people received their booster vaccine. According to the data from the Niue Health Department, a total of one thousand seventy vaccine doses were administered from Tuesday last week until this morning. Of those numbers, seven children 12 to 15 years old received their second dose and thirteen people received their first dose, some were children 12-15-year-olds and a few adults who took their first jab.
In a statement to BCN News today the Director of Health Dr. Eddie Akauola is calling on the rest of the eligible population to get their boosters now while the vaccines are available.
“We are asking the eligible people of Niue to please come and get vaccinated to receive their booster shots. The booster injections add more protection from the Covid19 and the new variants that are continuing to emerge”, says Dr. Akauola.
The Health Department says that these are also “part of the preparation for the island to prepare to move into Quarantine Free travel”
Although the government has not yet specified a date for a two-way quarantine free travel. In the meantime, the island remains in Code Blue since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier this month public health expert and Associate Professor at Auckland University Dr. Colin Tukuitonga told BCN news that he recommends the Niue government update their Covid response plans and for people to start practicing social distancing and not to hold large gatherings.
However, the Director-General of Health Gaylene Tasmania says that Dr. Tukuitonga’s recommendations are valid but in a different context.
“Those are valid but in a different context. These practices are also in our national covid response plan but they are not part of our response plans in Code Blue and that’s the stage that we’re currently at, which is about preparation and readiness. We have been at this alert level for more than eighteen months now.
“Code blue is where we maintain minimal disruption to the community but we acknowledge that the potential threat of Covid is within our region and of course in New Zealand.
So we mitigate that threat by strengthening our border measures, travel restrictions and mandatory have made up our key defenses before the vaccines were made available.”
Gaylene Tasmania says that the recommendations from Dr. Tukuitonga to start practicing social distancing and not to hold large gatherings are valid and people may want to follow these on a voluntary basis, but it is not a requirement of the government’s plans at this time.
“At this stage, it is not a requirement being mandated by our government, and in saying that we are always adjusting our protocols based on conditions that exist at the time so part of that assessment is what is going on in New Zealand. We look at the science and determine what are the best practices to keep Niue safe” says Mrs Tasmania on the radio last Friday.
Since the beginning of this year, the government has also reduced the number of days in MIQ from 13 to 10.
And this week Cabinet also approved the re-introduction of the home quarantine option for those who meet the conditions.
The next major step in the government’s National Covid 19 Response plans is to vaccinate the 5 – 11-year-old children on the island with the paediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine.
The health department is calling on the parents to be prepared to begin this process next month. Information on the paediatric vaccine for the children will be made available for the parents as they encourage them to consent for their children to be vaccinated to protect them from Covid 19 and the new variants.
The health department says that they have started the training for the medical staff to administer the children’s vaccinations.