Health resources, information, and advice to protect yourself, your family, and your community.
There are no cases of COVID-19 in the Cook Islands.
COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person through infected droplets released when a sick person sneezes or coughs nearby another person’s mouth and nose. Te Marae Ora recommends these simples steps to keep yourself and your families safe.
Te Marae Ora (TMO) and the Government of the Cook Islands is working to get safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at the earliest possible time from New Zealand. The vaccine will be free to the Cook Islands public. The COVID-19 vaccination will be free of charge and completely voluntary.
COVID-19 vaccines that may be made available to the Cook Islands include: Pfizer; AstraZeneca; Novavax and; Janssens. Each vaccine is slightly different and has its own characteristics. More information on the vaccines will be made available when recieved.
You can get a free vaccine if you are in the Cook Islands. Everyone in the Cook Islands is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of your residency or permit status. Any information collected will not be used for immigration purposes. We are expecting enough vaccines for everyone in the Cook Islands – over 15,000 people.
While pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe COVID-19, very little data is available to assess vaccine safety during pregnancy. Pregnant women may receive the vaccine if the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks. For this reason, pregnant women at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 (example health workers) or who have comorbidities, which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider. The vaccine is not recommended for People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it. The vaccine is not recommended for persons younger than 16 or 18 years of age depending on the type of vaccine and the results of further studies.
The vaccine will be rolled out through a COVID-19 Immunisation programme as supply becomes available. Rollout dates are identified but may change depending on when the vaccines arrive and what’s happening in our community, NZ and the region.
To start with, it is likely vaccines will be given to the general public at Rarotonga Hospital and at Hospitals or Health Centres in the Pa Enua. TMO will confirm if any changes to venues and will issue vaccination times and groups closer to the dates.
The Cook Islands borders are currently closed to all travellers unless there is an exemption provided (in writing) by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. Cook Islanders, Cook Islands permanent residents and Cook Islands work or resident permit holders are the only people allowed to enter the country, provided they have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days and meet health requirements.
Te Marae Ora staff are based at the airport to conduct international exit health screening for passengers flying to New Zealand, and health screening for international arrivals from New Zealand and domestic departures to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands). Travellers to the Northern Group Islands are required to return a negative COVID-19 test 24 to 48 priors prior to departure.
The Cook Islands sea ports are closed to all yachts, cruise ships and leisure crafts since March 2020.
Te Marae Ora staff are based at the seaport to conduct exit health screening for passengers travelling to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands). Travellers to the Northern Group Islands are required to return a negative COVID-19 test 24 to 48 priors prior to departure.
There are two types of tests to identify the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19: 1) RT-PCR and 2) Serology.
RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) tests are the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. Samples are collected in two ways: nasopharyngeal (via the nose) swabs or oropharyngeal (via the mouth) swabs. The PCR test detects genetic material from the virus, the RNA – if it is present, you may receive a positive test result indicating infection.
Serology tests are conducted using your blood sample. It detects antibodies in your body and checks your immune response toward COVID-19. A positive serology test result may indicate past infection. A serology test is not diagnostic, but useful for surveillance.
Laboratory testing for COVID-19 involves a mixture of in-country testing, and sending swabs to New Zealand reference laboratories for analysis. You can only receive a test if it is ordered by a clinician at Te Marae Ora. If you are travelling to the Pa Enua (Outer Islands) or overseas and require a COVID-19 test, please contact Rarotonga Hospital Laboratory on +682 22664.
COVID-19 is a new respiratory illness. It is caused by a virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic on 12 March 2020.
Common symptoms include a new or worsening cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, cold-like symptoms (such as sneezing and runny nose), and a loss of smell, with or without fever (>38°C).
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, is spread through the following modes: 1) large droplet spread; 2) aerosalised spread (for example coughing and sneezing); and 3) contact with respiratory secretions (for example contaminated surfaces).
You can become infected through direct contact with infected droplets released through coughing, sneezing, talking, singing or even hugging others. If infected droplets land on a surface or object, you can become infected by putting your hand on the contaminated surface/object and touching your face, mouth or nose.