Large-scale Covid-19 vaccination clinic opens in South Auckland

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 6:01PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Large-scale Covid-19 vaccination clinic opens in South Auckland

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 9 Mar 2021, 6:01PM

The country's first large-scale Covid-19 vaccination clinic opened in South Auckland today, marking another step forward in New Zealand's vaccine roll-out plans.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said around 150 people a day will get vaccinated at the East Tamaki clinic initially.

"We plan to rapidly increase these numbers over the coming week," he said.

Two other vaccination centres will open in the coming weeks, one in West Auckland and one in central Auckland.

"Also, we're partnering with some Māori and Pacific NGOs to set up smaller community-based vaccination clinics in South Auckland to support our rollout to household contacts of border and MIQ workers."

Denise, Luana and Sa Fogasavaii wait to get vaccinated. They are the family members of Air New Zealand worker James Fogasavaii. Photo / Supplied Denise, Luana and Sa Fogasavaii wait to get vaccinated. They are the family members of Air New Zealand worker James Fogasavaii. Photo / Supplied

An estimated 50,000 household contacts of border and MIQ workers are next to be vaccinated, including the family of Air New Zealand employee James Fogasavaii, who got their first dose today.

James has worked for the national carrier for 13 years. He currently works as a resources co-ordinator at Auckland Airport and has also been vaccinated.

"I think it's important for my family itself just to protect them from the Covid that's happening around the world," James said.

"I think it's vital that they do get it and it will be good so that we can be advocates for our community, especially for church, just to spread the word that it is important to get this vaccination done."

His sister Denise Fogasavaii agreed that it was vital for family members of border workers to get vaccinated.

"Level 4 was hectic for us because (James) had to isolate separately from our family, especially when we've got vulnerable people at home as well. I've got my parents, my aunty and my uncle, so it was important for me to actually get it as well.

"I know a lot of our old people are probably scared of getting the vaccine but getting it today, it doesn't hurt and it is important for everybody to get it."

The pair's father Sa Fogasavaii said the vaccine was "good for you... everybody, for your life, your kids".

"If you love your kids, come and do it."

Aaron Te Moananui, whose partner works at MIQ, said encouraged others to get vaccinated.

"Living with someone who works in the borders and just putting my family in safe arms, just makes me comfortable getting this injection today.

"If you're unsure, just talk with people like myself who have got it done before. The nurses will make you feel welcomed and feel like there's nothing to worry about. So yeah, whānau, come along and get the jab."

The next stage in the rollout would be vaccinating our approximately 55,000 frontline health workers.

Bloomfield said similar centres like the one that opened in Auckland today with be set up around the country.

"From mid-year, the general public will be able to get their vaccinations, including at large-scale vaccination clinics like these.

"This is another important step in our journey towards rolling out vaccinations to all New Zealanders."

"This is another important step in our journey towards rolling out vaccinations to all New Zealanders," Bloomfield said.

Yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government had secured another 8.5 million doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine.

The additional 8.5 million doses are enough to vaccinate 4.25 million people, as each person requires two jabs.

Combined with the estimated 1.5 million Pfizer vaccines the Government has already purchased, that means every New Zealander will have access to the Pfizer vaccine.

text by Julia Gabel, NZ Herald