Your common questions about Omicron answered

A panel of experts on Covid 19 answers common questions about the Omicron wave and the immediate future for Aotearoa New Zealand.

An expert panel from the University responds to questions about omicron.

As the Omicron wave moves through New Zealand, the University of Auckland brought together an expert panel to respond to common questions about how best to manage Omicron and what the near future might hold.

The panel was led by Professor John Fraser, the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University and an immunologist. The panellists are:

  • Vaccinologist Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris, Director of the Vaccine Datalink and Research Group
  • Honorary Professor Nikki Turner, Medical Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre
  • Professor Papaarangi Reid, Tumuaki|Deputy Dean Māori, FHMS and head of the Te Kupenga Hauora Māori| Māori Health, co leader of the Te Rōpū Whakaupapa Uratā| the National Māori Pandemic Group
  • Dr Stephen Ritchie, an infectious diseases physician at the Auckland DHB.

This recording has been time-stamped to highlight specific questions and topics.

Introduction and overview of current Covid-19 situation with Omicron in New Zealand (commences 1:30)
John Fraser
Avoid Omicron or give in to the inevitable? (commences 4:18)
Nikki Turner, Papaarangi Reid, Stephen Ritchie, Helen Petousis-Harris
Does being a household contact who doesn't catch Omicron say anything about your immunity? (commences 7:15)
Nikki Turner
Is Omicron spread by surfaces? (commences 8:25)
Likelihood of catching Omicron if outside in uncrowded space?
Stephen Ritchie
Vaccine/booster efficacy including fourth booster, and other vaccine variants (commences 9:45)
Nikki Turner, John Fraser
Severity and immunity if you catch Covid more than once (commences 13:10)
Nikki Turner, John Fraser
Benefit of fourth booster? (commences 14:55)
Nikki Turner, Helen Petousis-Harris
Do those who are vaccinated/have had Covid shed less viral load? (commences 15:36)
Nikki Turner, Helen Petousis-Harris
Long covid (protection through vaccination,in relation to omicron) (commences 16:18)
Stephen Ritchie
How we navigate Omicron (commences 18:45)
Children and under 5 year olds
Nikki Turner, Papaarangi Reid
Likelihood of further (more virulent) mutations (commences 22:16)
John Fraser, Stephen Ritchie
Long covid (timing and what it looks like) (commences 25:40)
Stephen Ritchie, Nikki Turner
Mask recommendation for long haul overseas flights (commences 30:58)
John Fraser, Nikki Turner, Stephen Ritchie
Adequacy of isolation period (commences 32:11)
Nikki Turner, Papaarangi Reid
Protection from catching Omicron vrs (Omicron) predecessor variant vaccine/booster (commences 33:08)
John Fraser
Trade-off between virulence and transmission (commences 34:15)
John Fraser
Mask wearing/exposure requirements and younger primary school students (commences 36:13)
Nikki Turner
Long Covid and degree of severity (commences 37:31)
Stephen Ritchie
New variants i.e. Deltacron (commences 33:21)
John Fraser
Risk of Omicron transmission via eyes (versus mouth, nose) (commences 39:16)
Stephen Ritchie
Current surge in China (commences 41:00)
John Fraser, Nikki Turner, Stephen Ritchie, Helen Petousis-Harris, Nikki Turner
Duration of booster effectiveness for Omicron (commences 43:00)
Nikki Turner, John Fraser
Cases and hospitalisations in UK (commences 44:04)
Nikki Turner, Stephen Ritchie, John Fraser
Protection from vaccination versus infection (commences 46:04)
John Fraser
Efficacy of RATs (RAT result negative when showing Covid-like symptoms) (47:28)
Papaarangi Reid, Nikki Turner
Vaccination rates in Māori children (commences 49:46)
Papaarangi Reid
Does vaccination increase risk of stroke and blood clots (commences 51:44)
Helen Petoussis-Harris
Zoonotic spill-overs and hope for more evolved collaboration between policy-makers and scientists (commences 52:20)
Post-surge, who will be watching for new developments, where and how?
Influenza A (commences 54:20)
Stephen Ritchie, Nikki Turner