13 Oct 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: 'We want to see a big surge in vaccinations this week'

5:28 am on 13 October 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced the latest news on the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Watch update here:

There are 43 new cases of Covid-19 in the community today - 40 in Auckland and three in Waikato.

Ardern says vaccination helps protect vulnerable people and children and to "get back to a life that feels a little more normal".

On the Super Saturday vaccination drive, she says this Saturday is "a chance to roll up our sleeves for New Zealand and help make us the most vaccinated and therefore protected countries in the world".

Currently 82 percent of eligible New Zealanders aged 12 and over have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 58 percent have had their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

In Auckland, 87 percent have had their first dose and 63 percent are fully vaccinated.

"Overall these are good figures and according to Our World in Data put us ahead of the United States and Germany and just behind the United Kingdom".

"But they aren't high enough yet to feel confident that we can ease restrictions dramatically without seeing a big surge in cases that could overwhelm our health services," Ardern says.

"So instead big surges in cases we want to see a big surge in vaccinations this week."

She says this Saturday between 12pm and 8pm on channel 200 there will be a "Vaxathon".

It will be live across the country and will highlight vaccine initiatives.

It will include real-time data on how each region is tracking with vaccination uptakes throughout the day.

"Vaccinations will available throughout the day and into the night on Saturday across GP clinics, many of whom are opening especially for the day, pharmacies, marae, churches, mosques, community centres, workplaces and drive through centres," Ardern says.

More information is available on the government's Covid-19 website.

Nationwide, we have the capacity to administer well over 100,000 vaccines in a single day. That would lift out vaccination rates considerably. There's nothing stopping us other than people showing up," Ardern says.

"Our vaccination record for a single day is 93,334 which was on 26 August. Our biggest number of vaccines in a single week is 552,586 and that was the week ending 5 September."

"Those are the records we should try and beat this week," Ardern says.

"In Auckland, let's aim to get first doses over 90 percent by the end of Saturday and see surge in second doses too."

"New Zealand has been world-leading on keeping down our case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths as well as delivering a strong economy and low unemployment.

"I believe we can be world-leading on vaccines too," Ardern says.

She urged everyone to get the vaccine.

On the women who crossed the border from Auckland to Northland, Ardern believes they went via the MBIE process.

She says they had the essential worker exemption from MBIE.

Bloomfield says the original exemption that was sought was for four people, but investigations suggest that only two people crossed the boundary - the two people who are now in quarantine.

Ardern says the women "falsely acquired" the ability to travel.

"But they have been picked through the fact that they were required to be tested."

Bloomfield says the Northland case's contacts were in Northland, Auckland and Wellington - all have returned negative tests, except the one woman who was found in West Auckland yesterday.

Ardern says people not coming forward for fear of being identified is "not a new risk in this outbreak".

She says a similar incident happened before, except this time was extraordinary because there has been "almost complete silence from one of the individuals".

Bloomfield could not say if the women who travelled to Northland were vaccinated or not.

Ardern says there have been discussions around needing to be vaccinated to be able to cross regional boundaries at higher alert levels.

On mandatory vaccinations for teachers, Ardern says "we don't want to be in the position of losing any of our Māori educators but we also have to balance that against ensuring that we're keeping our tamariki safe".

As for health workers keen to get the vaccine, Bloomfield says there is high interest at the Auckland DHB, but varies among other different DHBs.

"I expect there will be very high uptake across both sectors," Bloomfield says.

Ardern says the R value for this outbreak sites between 1.2 and 1.3: "That does suggest we will continue to see growth in the outbreak."

Yesterday at the 1pm update there were 35 new cases of Covid-19 reported, all in Auckland.

Yesterday evening the Ministry of Health reported the positive case of a patient at Middlemore Hospital.

And this morning the travelling companion of the first Northland case in this outbreak tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to an MIQ facility. The person was located by police last night in West Auckland.

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