Covid-19: Hipkins hints South Aucklanders will get vaccine first

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 10:37AM
Chris Hipkins. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Chris Hipkins. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Covid-19: Hipkins hints South Aucklanders will get vaccine first

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 10:37AM

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is suggesting the people of South Auckland will be prioritised when it comes to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

This is a sentiment that has been welcomed by National leader Judith Collins, who this morning said South Auckland "needs to be a priority".

Speaking to Q&A this morning, Hipkins said South Auckland is clearly more at risk of Covid-19 and this would be "reflected" in the Government's vaccine rollout plan.

He said after frontline Covid-19 workers have been vaccinated, the Government will be rolling it out to "those who are more at risk within the community".

That's people who have health conditions and are those who are elderly, he said.

But he also said the Government was looking into places that are more at risks.

"Clearly, South Auckland is located by the big airport where most of the people are coming into the country from.

"Clearing, that [South Auckland] is a setting that probably is a bit more at risk – I think you will see that reflected in the vaccine rollout plan".

He doubled down when speaking to the Nation.

But he said the main issue was the supply of vaccines – there would likely be "high demand" and at this stage, the Government simply does not have the stock on hand.

The South Auckland focus came as welcome news to Collins, who told Q&A it was "absolutely essential" the people of South Auckland are vaccinated first.

"I think it has to happen," she said.

She said that there is a lot of high-density housing in South Auckland and many people in the area work at border facilities, as well as in rest homes.

"We need to be realistic here, we need to say South Auckland does need something does need something and that something special happens to be vaccinations."

Those vaccinations need to happen in South Auckland before the rest of the country, she said.

Auckland Councillor Efeso Collins backs the calls. He told Francesca Rudkin that South Auckland is where a lot of border-facing people work, giving the proximity to the airport, and the community also has higher health needs.

"I actually think Auckland should be an area of prioritisation as well because all of the outbreaks have happened here in Auckland." 

He said that the rest of the country has to move to Level Two when these outbreaks happen, and would likely understand the need to get Auckland vaccinated to prevent these outbreaks.