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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Daily vaccination rates against Covid-19 must increase – Minister of Health

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Health Minister Andrew Little hopes the number of Covid-19 vaccines will increase to around 10,000 per day by the end of the month.

Health Minister Andrew Little receives the Covid-19 vaccine.
Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

Little this morning got his first dose of Pfizer vaccination as part of government pressure to promote jab safety. It was offered to politicians with a portfolio related to health or Covid-19 as part of a multi-stakeholder effort to improve public confidence.

Little looked away as the needle penetrated, but was shocked at how quickly everything was happening.

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“Is that right?”

He said the vaccination program was immunizing around 6,000 people every day, but that would need to increase.

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“We want by the end of this month there will be around 10,000, then between the end of May and the beginning of June, to reach 40,000 to 50,000 per day.

“It will take some time to ramp up, but I have no doubts that we are on the right track.”

The deployment of vaccinations was carefully managed with the arrival of doses.

The government was considering different locations as arenas where mass public vaccinations could take place, Little said.

“There’s talk of all kinds of places and all kinds of places, places with big parking lots to make it easier for some.

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“But look, all of these kinds of things are being worked on right now and when we get to this peak time, everything will be fine.”

Few were convinced the Trans-Tasman bubble would work, despite low vaccination rates in both countries.

Australia and New Zealand have shown they can handle the virus without high levels of vaccination, he said.

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“We are able to respond effectively to epidemics as they are, and I believe we are now well positioned to allow movement to flow between the two countries.

“The vaccination program, which will later allow us to open our borders to more countries, but with Australia they have proven that they can handle Covid-19 well and we are both in a similar situation to this regard.”

Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare also received his first dose of Pfizer vaccine this morning at a clinic in Porirua.

Henare was encouraging Maori to follow his lead and get vaccinated against Covid-19, and traveled to the North Island to engage with Maori communities in an effort to educate and combat vaccine reluctance.

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