Covid-19 summer checklist: How Kiwis can embrace their holiday season

While making holiday plans, taking a few simple steps can help reduce COVID-19 spread and the risk of serious illness.

New research by Pfizer reveals that only 14% of New Zealanders feel that their life is back to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic. With the nation planning its summer in the midst of rising case numbers, Kiwis are being encouraged to have a COVID-19 summer checklist so they can enjoy their anticipated holiday season with family and friends.

Pfizer New Zealand Medical Director, Krishan Thiru, said that with COVID-19 cases once again rising, it is important to plan ahead as we enter our third summer, and third holiday season, living with the virus.

“We want to ensure Kiwis enjoy a well-deserved break this summer. While making holiday plans, taking a few simple steps can help reduce COVID-19 spread and the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation, and helps maximise quality time with friends and family.”

Thiru recommends Kiwis have a checklist to protect themselves, their whānau and friends in the coming weeks, in addition to the usual public health measures:

  • Stay up to date with vaccinations and boosters.
  • Pack Rapid Antigen Tests if you’re going away.
  • Have a four-step plan if you test positive:
  1. Speak to your pharmacist or GP to check if you are eligible for antiviral treatments.
  2. Learn about antiviral treatments available at treatpositive.co.nz
  3. Find participating pharmacies nearest to you or your destination at healthpoint.co.nz
  4. Phone your doctor or local pharmacy straight away if you test positive for COVID-19.

The study was undertaken by New Zealand research firm Talbot Mills, and sponsored by Pfizer, with more than 1300 Kiwis to help understand the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The research shows New Zealanders are still afraid of contracting COVID-19, with more than half (59%) of respondents saying they are fearful of catching the virus, and nearly a third (30%) reporting they are still constraining their activities. However, this does not need to be the case.

The availability of antiviral treatments, such as Pfizer’s PAXLOVID® (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets) does seem to help allay fears. More than half (52%) of respondents stated they are “very” or “quite a lot” fearful of catching the virus, indicating that having access to treatments like PAXLOVID would make them feel more inclined to live their life like they did pre-COVID.

“Vaccination remains the first line of defence against the virus. However, with one million New Zealanders being eligible to treat their COVID-19 infection with antiviral medication, we encourage Kiwis to find out if they are eligible for treatments and how to access them as a second line of defence before they need them,” Thiru said.

Eligibility will depend on several factors, including age, ethnicity, other health conditions and vaccination status.

For more details, check out Pharmac’s access criteria here and visit: http://www.treatpositive.co.nz. To check the nearest pharmacy that stocks Paxlovid visit: healthpoint.co.nz.

ENDS