Covid-19 Local Government Response Unit Update – Wednesday 9 February 2022

Local Government Response Unit main page

Today’s update:

Business continuity, RATs, and the Taituarā hosted webinar

We understand that an announcement is expected soon on the Return to Work Scheme. We will provide any information relevant to the sector in an update as soon as we can.

This will have implications for business continuity planning and the allocation of RATs. We are also hoping for clarification around the definition of ‘critical workers’ under the framework settings.

As a result of the expected announcement, you will be aware that Taituarā have postponed the webinar that was scheduled for today.

The webinar has been rescheduled for 3pm Wednesday 16 February.  Existing registrations have been carried to the new date and time.  Others can register at

Big Boost week

This week has been dubbed Big Boost Week, with a massive push to try and get as many New Zealanders to get their booster shot as possible.

 Pop-up vaccination clinics are running extended hours across the country.

If you have received your second vaccine more than three months ago, you are eligible for your booster shot.

The extra 1 million people who can now get their booster will begin to receive a text or email alert.

Eligible people are encouraged to get their booster as soon as possible, before Omicron takes off significantly.

1.6 million or 51% of people eligible, have now had their booster.

You can get your booster at walk-in and drive-in vaccination sites, or book an appointment by phoning the COVID Vaccination Healthline 0800 28 29 26 (8am – 8pm, seven days a week), and online at

Flu vaccines

Up to 2 million New Zealanders will be eligible for free flu vaccines this year.

The Ministry of Health and Pharmac are currently updating the eligibility criteria for free flu vaccinations with a focus on reducing the age of eligibility for at-risk populations, and potentially including a wider range of young people.

Currently the flu vaccinations are free for pregnant women, over 65s, and people who have certain medical conditions, including those with cancer and diabetes

The flu vaccine can be safely administered at the same time as the Covid-19 vaccine, including with the booster shot or paediatric vaccine. 

Testing update

Phase One -

Phase One of the response to Omicron means continuing with the same testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine settings. PCR testing is the most effective way of testing during Phase One. As case numbers increase, testing, tracing, isolation, and quarantine settings will change.

The Ministry of Health has increased PCR testing capacity to 60,000 tests a day with a surge capacity of nearly 78,000 a day.

Phase Two –

Work is underway to determine how organisations running critical services including local authorities can access RATs in Phase Two.

Critical workers identified as close contacts will be able to use proof of a negative Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) to return to work during their required period of isolation if they are not symptomatic.