This newsletter provides approved key messages from Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand on COVID-19.

The next issue of Health Key Messages will be sent in mid-January.

In today’s issue:

  • Be prepared on holiday
  • Current COVID-19 case data
  • Weekly COVID-19 Trends and Insight report
  • COVID-19 vaccine to be available February 2023 for immunocompromised and high-risk under 5-year-olds
  • Infection prevention and control information
  • Safe-as summer te reo Māori resources
Be prepared on holiday

Cabinet has confirmed New Zealand’s health settings for COVID-19 will remain unchanged following a final review for the year.

This includes advice on how to safely travel back to where you live if you get COVID-19 while you’re away.

For more details visit the ‘Of you get COVID-19 while travelling’ Unite Against COVID page here.

It is safe for you to return home
If you or the people you are travelling with can drive home in a private or work vehicle, then you can do so.

You will need to make as few stops as possible, so you need to plan:

  • your way home
  • how you would get fuel – you should only stop at a contactless petrol station
  • supplies for the journey home to reduce the number of stops you make.

You must not use public transport or do any-long distance road travel that requires an overnight stay or interisland travel.

If you are unable to get home
You cannot:

  • take a commercial flight home
  • do any long-distance road travel that requires an overnight stay
  • take an interisland ferry or public transport.
Current COVID-19 case data

In the week 18 December 2022 there were:

  • 42,740 new COVID-19 cases reported, an average of 6,099 a day.
  • Of these cases reported, 12,809 were reinfections, and of those 412 were reinfection within 90 days of a previous infection.
  • 581 COVID-19 cases were in hospital, with 15 cases in ICU.
  • 31 people have died, 21 with COVID-19 as underlying, and 10 with COVID-19 as contributory.
Weekly COVID-19 Trends and Insights report

The 16 December Trends and Insights Report has now been published on the Ministry’s website. It can be found at the link below, alongside some additional, explanatory information.

COVID-19 vaccine to be available February 2023 for immunocompromised and high-risk under 5-year-olds

Ministers have approved use of the paediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to four years who are at higher risk of severe disease if they were to catch COVID-19.

Eligibility is limited to children who are severly immunocompromised, or who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe disease from COVID-19 (following the Starship Child Health table of underlying comorbidities).

The vaccine is anticipated to be available in February 2023. A further announcement will be made in early 2023 when timing of vaccine delivery is confirmed. When timing is confirmed, bookings for this vaccine will be available by calling Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 or visiting

Infection prevention and control information

The key national infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance for the health sector is now housed on the Te Whatu Ora website, rather than on the Ministry of Health website. Key IPC information for health and disability care workers include:

Safe-as summer resources in Te reo Māori

Translated resources have been posted online to help promote having a safe-as summer. You are welcome to use these in your community.

Subscribe to COVID-19 health key messages

If you know someone who would like to subscribe to COVID-19 health key messages they can do this on the Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health website. You can also access previous editions there too.

Sharing COVID-19 health key messages

Please note that if you wish to share COVID-19 Health Key Messages then you need to click ‘view in browser’ and share that link. If you forward the email the links won’t work. Alternatively invite people to subscribe. View previous editions.


Unite against COVID-19 website

Visit for further guidance on COVID-19. There is also a range of resources tailored for different groups, such as translations and alternate formats.

COVID-19 Āwhina app

Āwhina is the best way to stay up to date with the latest information for the health and disability sector. You’ll get the regular notifications to your phone.

Sourced from Ministry of Health New Zealand