COVID-19: Michael Baker urges people to get booster jabs as New Zealand grapples with 'concerning' sixth wave

  • 18/06/2024

New Zealand's sixth wave of COVID-19 cases is largely being driven by people's complacency about the virus, epidemiologist Michael Baker says. 

Prof Baker, from the University of Otago, told AM it was a "concerning" wave of infections. 

He urged New Zealanders to get booster jabs, noting the Government was still funding them for eligible people. 

"The last three waves have been getting bigger - more cases - and I know we're quite complacent about this virus now, but we shouldn't be," Prof Baker told AM host Lloyd Burr. 

He said there were many steps people could take to prevent cases from rising. 

The number people hospitalised with COVID-19 was 279 as of Sunday, Health New Zealand said. 

"Don't ignore this infection," Prof Baker said. 

"We're still seeing about 50 people a day admitted to hospital. People are, unfortunately, dying every day from this infection - particularly older people and those with underlying illness." 

Michael Baker.
Michael Baker. Photo credit: Newshub.

There were 4788 new COVID-19 cases reported in the week to Sunday and 34 people died, Te Whatu Ora data showed. 

Of those new cases, 3021 were reinfections. 

The seven-day rolling average of cases was 509. 

Prof Baker remined people to get their vaccine boosters. 

"Basically, people of all ages are also getting long-term effects - long COVID - and the good news is that the vaccine protects you against both of those outcomes," he said. 

Anyone 30 and older is eligible for boosters and high-risk or pregnant people 16-29. 

"Really take advantage of that," Prof Baker urged.