21 Sep 2021

Auckland could reach 90 percent first dose vaccination milestone in two weeks - Ardern

9:08 am on 21 September 2021

It's possible 90 percent of Aucklanders could have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the time Cabinet reviews the city's alert level 3 restrictions in two weeks, the prime minister says.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the country on day two of the lockdown.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to the country on day two of the lockdown. Photo: Pool / Getty

Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report vaccines are a new tool in the armory and they have the ability to make a difference in this outbreak.

"We're due to get to 80 percent of Auckland [having had their] first dose this week."

"If Aucklanders work really hard", it's possible 90 percent will have had their first dose by the end of the two weeks, Ardern said.

It will take everyone doing their bit, she said.

Ardern said vaccines are an additional support in fighting Covid-19 not the basis of every decision made, "but it helps".

"In the future we know that the more people that are vaccinated, the less likely it is that we have a constant state of restrictions that everyone's been living with for the better part of a year and a half.

"Depending on how high are those vaccination rates actually depends on what our future looks like."

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told First Up Aucklanders can visit any vaccination centre and get a vaccination today.

He wants north of 90 percent of the Auckland population vaccinated.

"The best way to keep yourself safe, to keep your family safe and your loved ones and the community, is get a vaccination. It's free, it's safe, it's readily available now, people are waiting for you to come in."

Ardern said the reason the country went to level 4 this outbreak was because of the Delta strain of the virus.

"We've used that over five weeks to establish the spread of this particular outbreak and to ensure we didn't have widespread undetected community transmission in Auckland."

The public health unit say there isn't undetected transmission, she said.

Experts say the drop in levels this week is a risk.

"When we scanned across where we had seen transmission in recent times from this outbreak, the things that help us control that are all still in level 3," Ardern said.

"Whilst it's a move, and people in their minds probably think it's a great expansion of freedoms, actually it's still very tightly controlled."

Goff said he supported the move to level 3.

"It is a risk, life's full of risks, but I think that after 33 days people just needed that glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel, something to boost their morale."

He said he endorsed level 4 completely but it has huge costs for people who have no income and those that are isolated.

"This wasn't simply a political move, it was a move that took into account health but also took into account that when you do these things you do it with the willing compliance of the population and you need to make sure they're following you."

He thinks the prime minister recognised the point had just about been reached where people had as much as they could take of lockdown.

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