10 Sep 2021

'Enormous opportunities' for Aucklanders to get vaccinated this weekend

9:15 pm on 10 September 2021

Vaccination centres have been scaled up again in Auckland today, amid second-dose bookings from the country's first mass vaccination event.

People waiting for their turn at the drive-through vaccination centre at The Trusts Arena, Auckland.

People waiting for their turn at the drive-through vaccination centre at The Trusts Arena, Auckland. Photo: RNZ/Nick Monro

About 15,500 people who got their first Pfizer shot at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau at the end of July are now due for another vaccine, but vaccination centres say they've got plenty of room for more.

People booking their second dose have been invited to choose between the Trusts Arena carpark in Henderson and the Airport Park and Ride in Māngere - and turn up today, tomorrow or Sunday, at the same time as their first appointment.

Northern Region Health Coordination Centre vaccination programme lead Matt Hannant said both sites have been operating as drive though vaccination sites since last month, and staff were equipped for the surge.

"We've got more people working in the cold chain, more vaccinators and more of the folk who greet people and look after them when they're driving around the centre," he said.

While some people from the Manukau event had already booked their second dose elsewhere, Hannant expected about 9000 people would take up the offer.

By 1pm today, he said 670 people had got a vaccine at the arena, and more than 1800 people had turned up to the Airport Park and Ride - where there was plenty of room for more people to turn up for first or second doses, he said.

"Actually, we think that we could probably do more through that site. The site's configured to do over 4000. So I think a key message from us is if you haven't had your first dose, come on down to the drive through. We'd be really pleased to see you down there," he said.

"The team's working well and we're getting through people nice and quickly."

At the Free Wesleyan Church Of Tonga in Favona a three-day mass vaccination event catering for Auckland's Tongan community is also in its second day.

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Photo: RNZ / Mariner Fagaiava-Muller

The aim was to vaccinate up to 600 people a day, but that goal has been smashed, according to Pacific Response Co-ordination Team chair Pakilau Manase Lua.

Yesterday, 811 people turned up and 500 were vaccinated in just the first three hours today.

"There's been steady vehicles coming through all the time. So it's going really, really well. You can just turn up - you don't need to book at all. We're just trying to make it as simple and easy as possible for our community," he said.

Meanwhile the country's vaccine stocks are getting a top up with 250,000 doses from Spain now on the ground in Auckland.

The Ministry of Health said they would be quality checked at the National Vaccine hub in Auckland, then distributed across the country.

Some frontline vaccinators wanted all of those bonus doses to go to Aucklanders, but Deputy Prime Minster Grant Robertson said there was no need.

"Right now, today it's not a matter of there being any issue if people in Auckland want to get vaccinated. This weekend there are going to be enormous opportunities for people to go out and get vaccinated. There are spots available for people to go out to get vaccinated," he said.

"This is not about a shortage in Auckland. We now have the vaccines on hand to keep that momentum up and that's what we plan to do."

The Ministry of Health is hoping to secure additional doses from a second country and expects to announce details in the coming week.

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