Thousands respond to government’s vaccination drive

By RNZ.co.nz. Republished with permission.

The Super Saturday Vaxathon that has seen around 130,000 people vaccinated in one day has exceeded expectations, the prime minister says.

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Photo: RNZ

The target for the day was 100,000 but this number was reached by mid-afternoon, and the prime minister set a new target of 150,000.

The number of vaccinations delivered has seen the country’s previous daily record of 93,350 jabs smashed.

Events were staged all around the country with coverage screening live on TV1, TV3 and Māori TV.

The Ministry of Health will release final figures tomorrow.

The numbers

  • 129,965 people vaccinated by 9.45pm (a provisional figure)
  • 41 new community cases, 21 unlinked to existing cases
  • 40 of the cases are in Auckland, 1 in Waikato
  • 31 people are in hospital, six in intensive care
  • 2 cases in managed isolation

Prime minister thrilled with response

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern praised New Zealanders for turning out in record numbers to protect whānau and loved ones.

“Super Saturday has exceeded expectations and has ensured as a country we are more protected from Covid-19,” Ardern said.

“The passion and energy shown across the country reminds of just how hard everyone is working to keep each other safe. Just as we stayed home last year to save lives now we are getting vaccinated to protect the team of 5 million.”

She said Aotearoa could become one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, if the momentum can be carried on.

All manner of enticements

Some went home with tickets to Super Rugby matches, others won admission to the upcoming Rhythm & Vines festival.

From donuts to dancing, from care packs to home appliances – businesses and volunteers joined forces across the motu to ensure thousands who came along to be vaccinated also had the chance to be fed and/ or take home a gift as well as be entertained.

People took the chance to be vaccinated whether it was on a marae, a netball court or a Dreamliner and by 3pm the government’s target of 100,000 had been met.

Ardern announced the milestone: “Amazing news! So, Aotearoa, we have now had 100,019 vaccinations today which is awesome. But let’s not stop there.

“Let’s go for 150! Let’s go big or go home.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern taking a selfie with some of the organizers of ‘Do it 4 the East’, a youth-led vaccination event in Porirua.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at an event organised by young people in Porirua. Photo: RNZ / Kirsty Frame

The prime minister who toured various vaccination sites in the capital jumped aboard the Delta Buster Bus which has just started vaccinating in Lower Hutt. She posed for selfies and met health workers at several venues, including Sky Stadium.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield was also among the cheerleaders, delighting those at Cannons Creek with an informal dance routine.

Around the nation

In Auckland, Maungakiekie MP Priyanca Radhakrishnan said the Super Saturday vaccination centres in her electorate were busy and people had fun.

She said there had been lots of activities including spot prizes, barbecues, sausage sizzles and cultural performances.

Radhakrishnan said people also shared why it was important for them to get vaccinated.

“Many spoke to me about the need to protect their family members, some of the more vulnerable family members they have.”

People also spoke about attending funerals, caring for their loved ones and wanting to get back to a sense of normality, she said.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff toured vaccination sites around the city and was impressed by the positive mood.

“It’s actually quite uplifting to see queues of people lining up to get their vaccination, in a kind of a celebratory spirit too.”

He said it was particularly encouraging to see so many young people choosing to be vaccinated.

In Northland, a vaccination site at a Te Tai Tokerau marae saved locals long drives to get immunisations today.

The clinic at Mōkau marae near Whangaruru managed to vaccinate 30 people per hour this morning and over lunch.

Visitors were served hangi, fry bread and donuts, given care packs with soap and masks, and kai packs to take home.

Ngātiwai trustee Rōpata Diamond said the marae site was much more convenient than hours spent on a round trip to town.

The site welcomed everyone from teens to people in their 90s. Diamond said many rangatahi came for their first shot because their “nanas told them too”.

Many schools hosted events, including Nelson Intermediate, which has a high population of Māori and Pasifika.

Public health charge nurse manager Nicola Thompson said whānau have been coming to the event to support each other, and some brought their children to be vaccinated too.

Pacific people turn out

At an event organised by the Tongan Health Society in Onehunga, the society’s chief executive, Glenn Doherty, said they had been giving about 100 doses per hour.

He said the event showed how Tongans are rallying together for the community.

Review RNZ’s blog of the day

One of the organisers involved with a Pasifika-youth-led vaccination fair in Porirua said community-focused outreach gets the best turnout.

The fair run by local teenagers and young adults in the suburb of Cannons Creek drew hundreds of people.

The outdoor event had live performances, food, games and raffles next to the vaccination tent.

Festival volunteer Louis Ariu-Woolley said making vaccinations accessible and fun is the right approach for communities.

The youth-led 'Do it 4 the East'
The youth-led ‘Do it 4 the East’ Photo: Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor

Protest organisers to be prosecuted

About 2000 people attended an anti-lockdown protest rally at the Auckland Domain today.

Relieving Auckland City District Commander Superintendent Shanan Gray said in a statement that the protest breached alert level 3 restrictions, which limits gatherings to weddings, funerals and tangihanga to no more than 10 people.

While police did not make any arrests, several organisers will be prosecuted in the coming days, he said.

Another woman who travelled to Northland tests positive

A third woman, who was with the two women who travelled to Northland, has tested positive for Covid-19.

The other women also tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Ministry of Health said all three are in a quarantine facility.

The Ministry of Health does not belive the latest case was infectious while in Northland but have identified five of her contacts in Auckland.

Samoa extends quarantine period

The Samoa government has decided to increase the quarantine period for incoming passengers from 14 days to 21 days because of the spike in community cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant in New Zealand.

This was confirmed by the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, at a news conference, where he added that the Delta variant has an incubation period of 28 days and it can transmit on the first or the last day.

Some 249 passengers who arrived on September 30, and are due to be released next week, will be asked to self isolate in their homes for a further seven days.

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