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Page last updated on Wednesday 3 May 2023.

COVID-19 update 1 May 2023

As of 1 May, eligibility for an additional COVID-19 booster has been extended to all pregnant people aged 16 to 29 years, to align with the flu age group criteria set by Pharmac. 

COVID-19 update 13 April 2023

Earlier this week, Cabinet announced it would retain mandatory measures for cases to isolate for 7 days and retain the mandatory use of masks for visitors to health care settings.

Cabinet also announced the removal of the legal framework around the Point of Care Tests Order, which regulates the importation, manufacture, sale and use of tests such as rapid antigen tests.

COVID-19 booster eligibility expansion

An additional COVID-19 booster dose is now available for:

  • anyone aged 30 and over who has completed a primary course, as long as it’s been at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine or positive COVID-19 test. 
  • anyone at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who has completed a primary course, as long as it’s been at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 booster or positive COVID-19 test.

High-risk groups include:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • Māori and Pacific peoples aged 50 years and over
  • residents of aged care and disability care facilities
  • severely immunocompromised people
  • people aged 16 years and over who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe breakthrough COVID-19 illness
  • people aged 16 years and over who live with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities.

Staying up to date with the recommended COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to protect you from the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation or death from COVID-19.

You can book your COVID-19 vaccine or booster at www.BookMyVaccine.nz or by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

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New COVID-19 vaccine booster - Pfizer bivalent

Since 1 March 2023, the Pfizer bivalent vaccine has replaced the existing booster. The vaccines used for the primary vaccination course will continue to be the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or the Novavax vaccine.

From 1 April 2023, an additional booster became available for those eligible.

All New Zealanders aged 30 and over are able to access the new COVID-19 bivalent booster from April as part of the Government’s plan to keep Kiwis safe and take pressure off our health system.

From 1 April, anyone 30 years or over will be eligible to receive the bivalent vaccine, as long as it has been at least 6 months since their last COVID-19 booster or positive COVID-19 test.

The bivalent vaccine causes the immune system to create antibodies against both the original variant of SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron subvariants and is therefore likely to provide better protection.

The bivalent vaccine is recommended for eligible pregnant people at any stage of pregnancy or during breastfeeding, as long as it has been at least 6 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine or positive COVID-19 test.

Flu vaccinations are also available now. We encourage everyone who is eligible, to get both their COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination to ensure that they are well protected ahead of winter.

COVID-19 Safe-As Summer campaign

Have a safe-as summer - Get ready for a safe-as summer by being prepared and knowing how to stay safe and protect yourself from COVID-19. Sick? Stay home and test! Prepare, test and isolate. 

Learn more about how to stay safe from COVID-19 this summer

See summer safety messages in different Pacific languages

More Māori and Pacific peoples eligible for second COVID-19 vaccine booster

Māori and Pacific peoples aged 40 to 49 are now eligible for a second COVID-19 booster to provide additional protection from the virus.

Broader second booster access will support higher vaccination rates among Māori and Pacific peoples and provide them with additional protection. You can have your second booster from 6 months after your first booster.

Learn more about your eligibility for the second booster.

Support and information for Pacific peoples about COVID-19.

COVID-19 measures wound down

On 18 October 2022, the Government announced that extraordinary measures that had been in place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic have been wound down even further, following the removal of the COVID-19 Protection Framework on 12 September 2022. 

To read more about this announcement, see the Government's COVID-19 website.

COVID-19 Protection Framework Update

Protecting lives and livelihoods remains the goal of the Government’s COVID-19 response. It is now possible to do this with fewer requirements, giving greater certainty to people, businesses and communities.

With case numbers falling, a highly vaccinated population, and increased access to antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19, public health experts say it is safe to remove most COVID-19 rules and end border restrictions.

Following a review by the New Zealand Government, it was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday 12 September 2022 that from 11:59pm on 12 September 2022, the COVID-19 Protection Framework (the ‘traffic lights’) will be removed.

For more information on the announcement, see:
Government's latest COVID-19 announcement 12 September 2022.

It's still important for New Zealanders to stay vigilant against catching COVID-19 and spreading it to their loved ones. Health districts and Māori and Pacific providers are providing after-hours vaccination sites in marae and places of worship. Visit our MPP vaccination event page or the Unite Against COVID-19 government website for details.

Pacific language translations of Government's announcement

Below is information about the removal of the COVID-19 Protection Framework in each of our Pacific languages.

Te Reo Māori Kuki ‘Āirani | Cook Islands Māori

Vosa Vakaviti | FijianTe taetae ni

Kiribati | Kiribati

Vagahau Niue | Niuean

Fäeag Rotuḁm | Rotuman

Gagana Samoa | Samoan

Te Gagana Tokelau | Tokelauan

Lea Faka Tonga | Tongan

Te Gana Tuvalu | Tuvaluan

Order free face masks and Rapid Antigen Tests on our website

Face masks are a way we can protect ourselves and others. You must wear one when visiting healthcare services like hospitals, GPs, pharmacies and aged care residential facilities. Some places like workplaces or marae may ask people to wear a mask.

Our website now has an online order form for Pacific organisations and those working with Pacific Aotearoa to bulk order free face masks and Rapid Antigen Tests. The page also includes a link for individuals to order free kits for themselves and their aiga from the Ministry of Health.

Order free face masks and Rapid Antigen Tests

Information on wearing a face mask

For more information about this initiative, you can email [email protected].

COVID-19 Antiviral treatment

People at high risk of severe illness from COVID are eligible for treatment with medicines. You are at higher risk if you:

  • have compromised immunity
  • have a high-risk medical condition
  • are aged 65 or over
  • are Māori or Pacific and aged 50 or over
  • are aged 50 or over AND have not completed a primary course of COVID-19 vaccinations
  • are an infant under the age of one month
  • are a child under the age of two who was born premature (less than 37 weeks)
  • are a child with multiple chronic conditions.

Eligible people must also have:

  • a combination of three or more high risk medical conditions
  • a severely weakened immune system
  • Down syndrome
  • sickle cell disease
  • previously been admitted to critical care or high dependency care because of COVID and have tested positive again.

Visit the Government's COVID-19 website for more information.

After having COVID-19

After you have had COVID-19 and left self-isolation, there are a few things you should do and be mindful of in your recovery:

  • Continue to wear a mask when out and about
  • Take it easy - rushing back into exercise and activities may make any lingering symptoms worse, and may increase your chances of developing long COVID
  • If it has been 29 days or more since your last infection, and you have COVID-19 symptoms again, you should take a rapid antigen test (RAT), and self-isolate if the test is positive
  • Keep up to date with your vaccinations - wait three months after you have had COVID-19 before getting your next COVID-19 vaccination.

Following a COVID-19 infection, watch for fatigue and other symptoms of Long COVID.

A common symptom experienced by those with COVID-19 infection is fatigue. While you are recovering, it can continue for weeks to months after the infection has cleared. Learn more about Long COVID.

There is no clear reason why some people feel more fatigued or tired than others, and different things contribute to tiredness and make it last a long time.

Read some tips on how to manage fatigue.

With Omicron and winter illnesses circulating in the community, remember to do these basic things to protect your aiga:  

  • Get your booster. If you have children aged 5 to 11, get them vaccinated
  • Stay vigilant, and mask up
  • Keep up healthy habits such as washing hands, physical distancing and staying home if you are sick
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or are exposed to a case.  

Visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website to find out where to get vaccinated or receive a booster if you have not done so already.

With Spring approaching and the risk of catching COVID-19 again remains present. 

The Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor international evidence on reinfection rates. Current evidence shows the chance of having COVID-19 again within 90 days of a first infection, especially if it is the same variant, is low but it can occasionally happen.

Ensuring you minimise your chances of catching COVID-19 again is especially important for:

  • older people
  • those with higher risk health conditions
  • people who have frequent close contact with vulnerable people.

People who become unwell with respiratory symptoms within 90 days following a COVID-19 infection but are low risk, should stay at home and recover until 24 hours after most symptoms clear up. We do not advise routinely retesting at home within this period but if someone becomes increasingly unwell they should seek advice from their doctor or Healthline.

Those more at-risk people who become unwell again within 90 days of their initial illness should seek further advice from a health practitioner. If you become unwell more than 90 days after a COVID-19 infection you should follow the same advice as for a first infection. It is important to take any respiratory illness seriously and take time to recover.

We are heading into the colder months — traditionally a time when there is also more sickness in general in the population. New Zealanders are well versed in following public health guidance — now is not the time to give up on those.

Please continue to:

  • stay at home if you are unwell
  • practise good hand hygiene
  • wear a face mask when out in public
  • maintain physical distance from others when possible.

Vaccination remains a key defence against winter ills and chills — both the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine.

COVID-19 and mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s wellbeing in various ways, and it is vital to look after our mental health and that of our aiga.

You can find tools and advice to stay mentally healthy as COVID-19 continues to throw challenges our way on the Unite Against COVID-19 government website.

Mental health support is also available specifically for Pacific communities by calling the following free phone number:

0800 Ola Lelei – 0800 652 535

Winter wellness

This year the flu will be in our communities but many Pacific people can get a FREE flu vaccine.

  • The flu vaccine is free for all Pacific people aged 55 and older, pregnant women, young children with a history of breathing problems and anyone with asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and other health concerns.
  • No other vaccine will protect us from the flu, only the flu vaccine will do this.
  • People can visit Aotearoa from overseas now, bringing more flu with them.
  • We are meeting in-person more giving the flu more chance to spread from person to person.
  • Visit your GP clinic, local pharmacy or community vaccination centre to get your free flu vaccine. Please note: young children must get their flu vaccination at a GP Clinic. It is still FREE for those who are eligible.

Visit www.winterwellness.nz for more information.


Talanoa with your family about who can get the flu vaccine for free and who might be due for other vaccinations. Look after your mental and spiritual health, and spend time with those you love. Eat healthy food and exercise. Speak to your GP or Nurse or phone 0800 611 116 if you have questions about your health.

The flu vaccine is FREE for:

  • All Pacific people aged 55 years and older
  • Children 6 months to 4 years of age with a history of breathing problems
  • Anyone who is pregnant, has asthma, diabetes, heart conditions & some other health concerns

Visit your GP clinic, local pharmacy or community vaccination centre to get your FREE flu vaccine. Please note: Children 6 months – 4 years must get their flu vaccination at a GP Clinic. It is still FREE for those who are eligible.

If you have had COVID-19 you can get your flu vaccine when you have finished isolating and feel well again. You can get your flu vaccine at the same time as any COVID-19 vaccine.

Anti-viral medicines will be available for free to any New Zealander 65 and over who tests positive for COVID-19. For Māori and Pacific peoples, these medicines will be available for free to anyone aged 50 and over. In addition, anyone with three high-risk conditions is eligible for free anti-viral medicines.

Travel to Aotearoa

From Thursday 20 October, there will no longer be a requirement for travellers flying to New Zealand to complete the online New Zealand Traveller Declaration.

From 11:59pm (NZT) on 12 September 2022, air and sea travellers and crew do not need proof of vaccination to enter Aotearoa New Zealand.

This applies to people entering New Zealand from anywhere in the world. Travellers should check with their travel provider or airline as they may still require proof of vaccination.

  • Travellers do not need to take COVID-19 tests or self-isolate when arriving.
  • Free rapid antigen tests (RATs) are available at airports. Travellers are encouraged to test the day they arrive and on day 5 or 6 and to report their test results by calling 0800 222 478 and choosing option 3.
  • If travelling on an airline you must still complete the New Zealand Traveller Declaration.

For more information, see the COVID-19 website.

Vaccination and testing requirements for all travellers arriving into New Zealand will end, including air crew, from 11:59pm, 12 September 2022. People arriving in New Zealand from overseas will continue to receive free RATs at the airport and will be encouraged to test on day 0/1 and 5/6.

Learn more about the pre-departure test changes.

Travel from Aotearoa

Pre-departure COVID-19 test requirements may differ depending on what country you're going to.

  • Check the official website of the country you're planning to enter or pass through (transit)
  • Check with the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country you're travelling to - for a list of these, see:

Embassies | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

For more information about the COVID-19 requirements specific to your arrival destination, see:

COVID-19 Government website

Changes to COVID-19 Protection Framework

The COVID-19 Protection Framework ('traffic light system') ended at 11.59pm on Monday 12 September

Only people who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate for seven days. Household contacts are recommended to take a RAT test every day for five days. So long as they test negative, they will be able to go about daily life as normal.

Masks will not be required anywhere, except when visiting certain healthcare facilities like hospitals, GPs, pharmacies and aged care residential facilities. Some places like workplaces or marae may ask people to wear a mask.

All remaining Government vaccine mandates have now ended.

The last workforce with a Government vaccine mandate is health and disability workers. This will end on 11:59pm, 26 September 2022. Some employers may still require workers to be vaccinated due to their responsibilities under health and safety legislation.

Anti-viral medicines will be available for free to any New Zealander 65 and over who tests positive for COVID-19. For Māori and Pacific peoples, these medicines will be available for free to anyone aged 50 and over. In addition, anyone with three high-risk conditions is eligible for free anti-viral medicines.

40,000 additional courses of anti-viral medicines have been purchased by the Government and they are expected to enter New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Learn more about the changes.

Masks are no longer required to be worn anywhere, except when visiting certain healthcare facilities like hospitals, GPs, pharmacies and aged care residential facilities. Some places like workplaces or marae may ask people to wear a mask.

You must wear a face mask when visiting a healthcare service.

Learn more about face mask requirements.

As of 11.59pm 4 April 2022, New Zealanders no longer need to use My Vaccine Pass.

Vaccine mandates for all sectors except health and care workers, prison staff and border workers have been removed.

Learn more about vaccine passes and certificates.

Omicron outbreak

If you're planning to travel within New Zealand, make sure you're prepared in case you or the people you're with get sick. If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Get a test. Don't wait until you get home
  • If you need to head home and you travelled by car, you can head directly home, but plan your route and try to stop only at contactless petrol stations for fuel and supplies
  • Be prepared to isolate. If you can't drive directly home, stay somewhere where you can isolate safely for at least seven days
  • Don't use air travel, ferries or public transport and don't make overnight stops
  • Tell your accommodation provider immediately if you test positive so they can make the property safe for the next booking

Learn more about what to do if you get sick while travelling.

The best thing that people can do to be prepared is to get a booster. People who have had a booster are much less likely to require hospital care if they catch COVID-19. If it has been four months since your second shot, you can go to BookMyVaccine to make a booking. Walk-in and drive-through boosters are available from some vaccination centres. Information is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. Testing is free.

You can also call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline:

For any other health concerns, call the general Healthline number on 0800 611 116. You can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

People need to make sure they are prepared for a period of isolation at home in the event they catch COVID-19. Household contacts no longer need to isolate. Making sure you have someone who can deliver anything you need while you’re isolating is a good idea. Information on how to make a plan for if you or a member of your household catches COVID-19 is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Our website now has an online order form for Pacific organisations and those working with Pacific Aotearoa to bulk order free face masks and Rapid Antigen Tests. The page also includes a link for individuals to order free kits for themselves and their aiga from the Ministry of Health.

Order free face masks and Rapid Antigen Tests

Information on wearing a face mask

For more information about this initiative, you can email [email protected].

There are step-by-step instructions available in multiple languages for how to take your Rapid Antigen Test. Most Rapid Antigen Test kits generally follow the same instructions but not all. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

New Zealand Government COVID-19 response

Get the latest information about the New Zealand government's COVID-19 response.