7 Apr 2021

Daily Covid-19 vaccination rates need to rise - Health minister

2:58 pm on 7 April 2021

Health Minister Andrew Little is hoping Covid-19 vaccination numbers will increase to about 10,000 a day by the end of the month.

Health Minister Andrew Little receives a Covid-19 vaccine, Wellington, 7 April 2021.

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

Little this morning had his first dose of the Pfizer immunisation as part of the government push to promote the jab's safety. It has been offered to politicians with a health or Covid-19 related portfolio in a cross party effort to improve public confidence.

Little looked away as the needle went in, but was shocked with how quickly it was all over.

"Is that it?"

He said the vaccination programme was immunising about 6000 people each day, but that would need to rise.

"We want by the end of this month to be up to about 10,000 and then by sort of late May to early June heading up towards that 40,000 to 50,000 a day.

"It still will take time to ramp up, but I'm confident that we are on track."

The roll-out of immunisations was being carefully managed with the arrivals of the doses.

The government was looking at different locations like arenas where mass public vaccinations might be able to take place, Little said.

"There's discussions about all sorts of venues and all sorts of places, places with big carparks to make it easier for some.

"But look, all those sorts of things are being worked on at the moment and when we get to that peak period it will be all on."

Little was confident the trans-Tasman bubble would work, despite low vaccination numbers in both countries.

Australia and New Zealand had shown they could manage the virus without high levels of immunisation, he said.

"We are able to respond effectively to the outbreaks just as they are, and I think we are now in a good position to let travel flow between the two countries.

"The vaccination programme, that will enable us further down the track to open our borders to more countries, but with Australia they have proven they can manage Covid-19 well and we are both in a similar situation in that regard."

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare receives a Covid-19 vaccine, Porirua, 7 April 2021.

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare has his first Pfizer vaccine jab. Photo: RNZ / Charlotte Cook

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

Henare was encouraging Māori to follow his lead and get vaccinated against Covid-19, and has been travelling around the North Island engaging with Māori communities in an effort to inform and combat vaccine hesitancy.

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