The Waikato DHB is urging people to not see booster shots as a 'nice to have' but as a key protector against Covid-19, as 90,641 eligible people in the region have not yet received their booster.
Within the Waikato region, 69 per cent of eligible people have had their booster, with 202,913 shots given. The rate of boosters is lower across Māori and Pacific residents with 53.7 per cent and 60.7 per cent of those eligible having been boosted.
Pacific Island community trust K'aute Pasifika is working on getting those numbers up and is inviting anyone interested to a special health and wellbeing event in Claudelands on Saturday - where not only Covid jabs are on offer.
Waikato DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Felicity Dumble says the current rates for third vaccinations are behind where she would like them to be, particularly with the current Omicron outbreak and the traditional cold and flu season coming up in autumn.
"Booster doses... should not be seen as a 'nice to have' extra, but a key part of building your protection from Covid-19. While two doses used to be the goal to make you be fully protected, due to Omicron you now need to have had three doses."
Dumble says that now is the best time to get a booster and it was important to get the booster before contracting Covid-19.
"Evidence here and overseas shows that you are likely to experience reduced symptoms and be less likely to transmit the virus further if you have had additional protection prior to becoming ill."
Regarding the flu vaccine, Dumble said it was important to know the booster will not interfere with the flu vaccine.
"This means if you are planning to have a flu jab and have not had a Covid-19 booster, you can go out and get your booster as soon as possible, there is no need to delay."
She says that for people testing positive for Covid-19 before having their booster, it was still important to get it, but they need to wait 12 weeks after recovering before they can have the Covid vaccine. You can have your flu jab as soon as you have recovered.
One of the places providing flu vaccines as well as Covid vaccines is Pacific Island community trust K'aute Pasifika.
They are hosting a special Rally your Village drive-through health event at Claudelands Event Centre tomorrow, April 9, from 10am to 4pm with free food, giveaways and $50 vouchers for every vehicle that comes in and has a family member vaccinated.
They offer free flu jabs for people aged over 55, Covid boosters for people aged over 16, Covid vaccines for kids aged 5 to 11, and overdue MMR vaccinations as well as breast cancer screening enrolments and bookings. Additionally, they offer stop smoking and diabetes support and will have a cervical smear bus on site.
To find out more visit the K'aute Pasifika Facebook page here.