WHAT IS THE MINIMISATION AND PROTECTION APPROACH AND HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM ELIMINATION?
Under the elimination strategy, all activities were focused on getting to and maintaining ‘zero COVID-19’. This was vital when treatments and, importantly, effective vaccinations were unavailable. When we did get vaccines, it was important for us to roll out vaccination to those most at risk first: our border workers, older populations and those that had other health risks.
Now as we work towards higher rates of vaccination across all our populations and all non-NZ citizens coming across our border are required to be vaccinated, we can move to a new approach.
Minimisation and protection will aim to shield both those who are most at risk of severe disease/outcomes, and the health system that is required to treat these people and continue to function to maintain other health services. This allows other priorities to be upheld, such as the importance of livelihoods and social connections, even in the context of a circulating virus. As such, impact on the necessities of life are ‘minimised’ and vital parts of society are ‘protected’.