Southerners being encouraged to plan around fifth wave

Thursday 16 November 2023

As New Zealand moves through its fifth wave of Covid-19 with related deaths on the rise, WellSouth is reminding the Otago and Southland community about how to stay well, to support whānau and plan ahead for the festive season.

Dr Carol Atmore, Clinical Director of WellSouth Primary Health Network says people who are older and or who have other health problems are most vulnerable to getting very sick from Covid.

“Many of these people who catch Covid-19 are much more likely to become very unwell, or suffer from Long Covid,” she says.

“We have seen increasing numbers of deaths in the last three weeks as a consequence of this.”

She encourages people to think about the timing of this wave with the impending festival season where families, friends and work mates will be getting together.

“Think about how you hold your end-of-year parties, so you don’t give your team Covid as a pre-Christmas present, and how to keep well and support loved ones during this time.”


She explains that if it is more than six months since your last booster or your last Covid infection, and you are on the list below, please think about getting a further Covid-19 booster vaccination to protect yourself and the community.

For people who are up to date with COVID-19 boosters, those who are most likely to benefit from another dose in late 2023 include:

- Anyone aged 75 and older

- Māori and Pacific people aged 65 and older

- People aged 16 and older who are severely immunocompromised

- People aged 30 to 74 with significant complex health needs that increase the risk of frailty (e.g. those living in residential care and those with long term medical conditions).


IMAC factsheet with clinical guidance on additional COVID-19 boosters for late 2023 is now available. Click here to view the factsheet.

Boosters are especially recommended for:

- all people over 65 years old

- Māori and Pacific people aged 50 and over

- pregnant people with health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19  

- people with disability with significant or complex health needs 

- people with serious mental health conditions  

- young people aged 12 to 15 who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (talk to your usual doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about whether this is recommended and how to get a prescription).


Dr Atmore re-iterates what you can do to stay well, and to help your family, friends and neighbours who might not cope well if they catch Covid.
- If you are feeling unwell, please stay at home.

- If you are visiting people in hospital or in rest homes, please wear a mask and don’t stay too long.

- If you are sick, please delay your visit.

- Think about your end of year party, and wearing a mask when you are indoors in crowded, poorly ventilated places.

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