First Govt ministers get the Covid-19 vaccine - over 66k vaccine doses administered

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Mar 2021, 10:17AM

First Govt ministers get the Covid-19 vaccine - over 66k vaccine doses administered

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Mar 2021, 10:17AM

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says 66,296 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered as of last night.

About 52,183 New Zealanders had received a dose, while 16,483 had received both, Hipkins said at a media update this morning.

For the next couple of months he expected 7000-8000 people to be vaccinated each day.

The Government aimed to ramp up to 50,000-60,000 vaccinations a day, Hipkins said.

From July, vaccines would be arriving in the country faster than they could be administered, so the Government had to be ready for the mass rollout.

There were more than 50 sites administering vaccines, and vaccination of border workers was progressing well.

The Government had been hitting about 96 per cent of its delivery target so far, Hipkins said.

Rapid courier services would be used when the mass vaccination rollout began so vaccines could be moved around to where they were needed most.

Within the next week the Government would start to release more regular updates on the number of people vaccinated.

First ministers vaccinated

Hipkins also received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this morning, as did Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall.

After his jab, Hipkins said he "didn't even feel it".

He had chosen to have his jab in public to help instil confidence in the vaccine. "We are concerned about the degree of misinformation out there. That's one of the reasons I've done it today.

"Making sure that people are getting their information from trusted sources is really, really important."

Verrall said she was excited to be getting the jab. "If we all go through with the vaccine the whole community will be protected."

She noted it would not change anything for her for now because she wouldn't be fully protected until after the second dose.

It follows the release of a review into the Government response to the August outbreak last year, which said it was too reactive, lacked clear lines of accountability, and didn't seek enough expertise outside the health sector.

Speaking about the review into the handling of the August cluster, Hipkins said the Government was always looking to improve its processes.

Hipkins said they were about to test the contact tracing system the week the August cluster broke out.

The minister was expecting more advice on pre-departure testing to understand whether it was effective and was being carried out correctly.

About 800 Covid cases had come through MIQ facilities in total. Hipkins said managed isolation facilities would be needed until the end of the year at least.

Last week's vaccine update showed that 41,500 people had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and 500 had had both doses.

text by Amy Wiggins and Derek Cheng