22 Aug 2021

Dr Ashley Bloomfield receives first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

1:26 pm on 22 August 2021

The Director General of Health has this morning had his first Covid-19 vaccination and is encouraging others to follow suit.

New Zealand Director-General of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

New Zealand Director-General of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Ross Giblin / Stuff / Pool

Dr Ashley Bloomfield got the first dose of the Pfizer at the Pipitea Marae vaccination centre in Wellington which had just been stood up because it allowed for greater capacity and social distancing.

Bloomfield is just one of the over 500 doses they are giving out today at that centre alone.

He said he barely felt it.

"Feeling great actually. It's really nice to have got to this point.

"I've been talking about the vaccine for months. My age group came online just a couple of weeks ago, so I used 'Book My Vaccine' last Sunday and was able to get a slot today."

He said when he tried to book, there were lots of available appointments, but that had changed since the announcement of the latest outbreak.

There's huge increase in demand to be vaccinated as soon as possible, he said.

The current Delta cluster also served as a good reminder of the challenge the virus causes for countries and it was important for people to take the protections they could.

Dr Bloomfield said vaccination was a crucial step as the country gets closer to opening the borders once again.

"It's a reminder that the virus can arrive at any time, even in countries like ours that have taken the elimination approach.

"Vaccination is a hugely important part, not just in us being able to protect ourselves now, but of us being able to re-open as we head towards the end of the year."

The revised plan now includes vaccinating essential workers, like those at supermarkets and pharmacies.

New Zealanders were also being told once again that, if they needed a test to isolate, immediately afterwards and not pop into the shops on the way home.

Yesterday three Wellington supermarkets were announced as locations of interest after cases visited them during lockdown.

Dr Bloomfield said people can go to the shop but, if they are symptomatic, have been in a location of interest or are a close contact, they must get a test and isolate.

"Talking to the team yesterday there are people who are popping into the pharmacy or supermarket on the way home from a test.

"If you need a test, you go out, you have that and then it's self isolate at home, even isolating away from the people in your bubble."

Dr Bloomfield will provide an update on cases at 1pm and is asking people to keep a close eye on locations of interest.

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