UPDATE: More than half of New Zealand’s estimated 12,000 border workforce have now received their first vaccinations, as a third batch of vaccines arrive in the country.
As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 9431 people had received their first doses. More than 70 percent of those, which equates to 6,688 people, have been delivered in the Auckland region.
“We are well on our way to ensuring those who are most at risk of COVID-19, the cleaners, nurses who carry out health checks in MIQ, security staff, customs and border officials, hotel workers, airline staff, port authorities and vaccinators will be protected from this virus,” says Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
“I’m also pleased to confirm that a third shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday afternoon, which adds a further 65,500 doses, bringing the total number of Covid-19 vaccines in New Zealand to 200,000.
“From here, we plan to ramp up the vaccination programme, as we move to vaccinate border worker’s families and household contacts. We will then move on to front line health and emergency staff – those people who may be exposed to Covid-19 while doing their jobs.”
Border worker’s families and household contacts will start to be vaccinated in earnest next week, but in some smaller regions, district health boards have already been able to expand their programmes to include these groups.
“In places like Nelson/Marlborough, the smaller workforce has meant both the border workers and their families have been vaccinated at the same time, with the same batch of doses. This is really good news as it means they will also be protected from the virus, and ahead of schedule.
“I look forward to this rolling out in our main centres from next week.”
The Minister for Covid-19 Response, Chris Hipkins and Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, will provide an update to the media today at 1pm.
On Tuesday, there were no new community cases of Covid being reported in New Zealand.
During his media stand-up in the afternoon, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said while this is positive news, "we are not out of the woods yet".
He says were are four new cases in managed isolation being reported on Tuesday.
"These were identified at day one of testing."
A total of 8880 tests were carried out in New Zealand on Monday, 7000 of these were in the Auckland area alone.
Dr Bloomfield is expecting high testing numbers again today and tomorrow.
As of February 14, 70,000 Covid tests have been carried out in Auckland.
Dr Bloomfield says this is equivalent to four per cent of the population.
While the news is looking good, Dr Bloomfield is urging people to remain at home if they are sick.
He says people should limit their movement and interactions with other people until they no longer have symptoms or have received a negative Covid test.