Asian community lagging in booster shots

24 Mar 2022 10:40 PM | Anonymous

New Zealand's Asian including Chinese did very well having the primary course of the Pfizer vaccine, but seems to lag behind in booster shots, especially among the elderly (over 65 years of age). As of Sunday (6 March 2022), the booster shot rate for Chinese seniors was just 72 per cent, far behind 91 per cent for Europeans in the same age group. Misleading information on social media (such as exaggerating the side effects of the vaccine, suggesting that Omicron infection has no effect on the body - "it is a mild disease anyway," and "the elderly will not get infected as they do not go out of the house") hinders the vaccination of the booster shots. At present, New Zealand is still having a surge of Omicron (likely dominated by the sub-variant BA.2), which means there are a large number of cases in our communities. Although the Pfizer booster dose may have an efficacy of 50-60% against Omicron, it is significant to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and even death. It's important to work together to address the rampant spreading of misinformation on social media and design tailored approach improving the booster rate for the seniors (some Asian, MELAA and Pacific groups). GP clinics, pharmacies, community organizations, the ministries of health (including DHBs) and ethnic communities will need to join efforts together to avoid what we saw in other areas of the world. Here is the media report: Why Asian Kiwis are hesitant to get the Covid-19 booster.

Below is an update of the booster coverage rate as at 11:59pm 20 March 2022. With the changes to the traffic light system, there will be relaxed public health measures but it may mean different things for different geographical areas, age groups, health status and ethnic groups. Senior residents and those with chronic conditions or compromised immunity should be urged to have the booster as soon as possible, as they are most vulnerable with a high risk of severe disease even deaths.

Booster coverage rate by selected ethnicity groups, nation-wide, as at 20 March 2022

Ethnic group

65+ yrs (%)

50-64 yrs (%)

Asian overall






Middle Eastern






Pacific overall






All ethnic groups



- Lifeng Zhou

Asian Caucus Chair

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