COVID-19 AND OMICRON: Updates & Information
We've heard from our communities that there are a lot of unanswered questions around the COVID-19 Vaccination. We want to make sure you feel safe and certain about your decision to get vaccinated, so we've answered as many as possible below - and we'll keep updating as we know more.
Can I go to the doctors during red or orange lights?
Yes! We encourage you to make sure you’re getting the healthcare you need. It’s completely safe, legal and okay to bring yourself and your whānau/aiga to the clinic.
My usual doctors is closed but I need help, what should I do?
That’s no problem, head to the nearest clinic that’s convenient to you. You can pick any – if you’re enrolled with us we’ll already have your notes on file.
I’d rather see an online doctor, is that possible?
Yes, no problem. Book an appointment with our Online Doctors at Bettr.co.nz. If you’re an enrolled patient, it’s only $10 to see the doctor.
How do I know I’ll be ok with COVID-19 and Omicron at a clinic?
Your safety is our #1 concern. There are risks but we do a lot of things such as screening everyone who visits our clinics for symptoms and testing our staff regularly, wearing full PPE where appropriate and N95 masks and rearranging the waiting areas for safe social distancing.
You’re safe to come in – we have masks on hand if you don’t have your own.
Do I have to pay if I need a COVID/Omicron test?
No you don’t have to pay. If you come in for COVID symptoms, your consultation is FREE if you take a COVID test.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Vaccines work by teaching the body’s immune system to respond quickly to infection without being exposed to the infection itself.
This means that the vaccine doesn’t actually use the virus cells at all.
Instead, the vaccine contains a messenger RNA code (messenger ribonucleic acid: a single-stranded molecule that carries genetic code) that essentially teaches your body to recognise the virus, and helps your body to be ready to respond straight away if you’re infected with COVID-19.
The vaccination will not give you COVID-19 and it will not affect your DNA or genes. It does not contain any live virus, or dead or deactivated virus.
Are there any side effects?
Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. Usually, these are mild and only last for a few days. They won’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your day as usual.
The most common reactions are:
- pain at the injection site
- a headache
- feeling tired or fatigued
- muscle aches
- feeling generally unwell
- joint pain
Some side effects may temporarily affect your ability to drive or use machinery. Serious reactions are very rare.
How was the COVID-19 vaccine created so fast?
Global scientists and governments have been working together and sharing data to improve the speed of vaccine development and clinical trials. There has never been this level of collaboration globally, which has meant we’ve been able to fast-track the process.
We’re also continuing to receive data from large clinical trials thanks to innovative technology, which allows us to monitor the safety of vaccines. This has meant that safety approvals that used to take a long time have happened faster.
Will other vaccinations (such as Influenza or MMR) impact my COVID-19 vaccine?
- A two-week gap is recommended between any non-live vaccine, including influenza vaccine, and the COVID-19 vaccine
- A four-week gap is recommended for MMR or any other live vaccines
How many doses of the vaccine will I need?
You will need two doses in total to get the best protection against COVID-19. You will be asked to get your second dose of the vaccine at least 3 weeks.
How is the vaccine/booster given?
The vaccination is given as an injection into the muscle of your upper arm. You’ll need two doses in total.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine/booster free?
Yes! The vaccine is free for anyone in New Zealand, regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
Want more information?
You can read more about the COVID-19 and Omicron Vaccination at the following official and verified sources:
Ministry of Health NZ | Manatū Hauora
MEDSAFE | New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority