Monday, May 17

Launch of Covid vaccine in New Zealand: priority will be given to South Auckland, which has been badly affected | New Zealand

Experts have welcomed plans to prioritize South Auckland in the New Zealand vaccination launch, although cricketers hoping to head to the UK will have to wait for clarification.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday that vaccines over the next three to four months would go to the two million New Zealanders who were “most at risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19, or becoming ill. seriously”.

Hipkins said this “targeted” approach was designed to minimize the risk of future coronavirus outbreaks, as well as to protect the elderly and other groups at risk.

South Auckland has been at the center of two outbreaks in recent months, the latter of which led to a city shutdown for a week.

Residents of the area over 65 or those with underlying health problems would start getting vaccinated starting in late March. Many of the 18,000 border force workers and their families who have already received their first dose are also in South Auckland.

In comments to the Science Media Center, Dr Collin Tukuitonga, from the University of Auckland’s School of Medical and Health Sciences, said it was “fantastic” that South Auckland had been recognized as a priority.

“We have been pushing for this to happen for a few weeks now. While we do this because we recognize the risk to the communities in South Auckland, they are also adjacent to the airport, so there is also the risk of an outbreak for everyone else in the country, so residents are given priority. from South Auckland with these conditions and ages. it will be good for everyone. “

Tukuitonga said the decision to vaccinate only those at risk in South Auckland, rather than the entire population, was a “pragmatic response to the limited supply of vaccines.” He said that assigning 40,000 courses to Maori and Pacific providers was “fantastic.”

“I know from experience that medical providers in the Pacific have predominantly Pacific patients, so they will improve the chances that the vaccine will be delivered to those who often have difficulty accessing health services.”

New Zealanders in residential care facilities would start getting vaccinated later this month, earlier than all New Zealanders 65 and older starting in May.

The government is still considering two special categories, Hipkins said: one for people who may need the vaccine for compassionate reasons, and a category of recognition of “national importance,” which could include diplomats, athletes or others seeking to represent New Zealand. Exterior.

“But I want to be clear here: these will be quite small groups of people. It won’t be a backdoor way for people to get in line. “

Hipkins declined to comment on whether the New Zealand cricket team could be a priority after Stuff confirmed that Cricket New Zealand made inquiries on carrying the Black Caps in the queue before the World Trials Championship.

The team will leave New Zealand in May ahead of games in England and India, two global hot spots for the virus. Hipkins said a decision would be announced in the next fifteen days.

Hipkins said the order for 8.5 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine announced Monday allowed the government to vaccinate the entire population, although he cautioned that launch dates and sequence could change with the supply of the vaccine.

So far, 265,000 doses had been received, including a fourth shipment on Tuesday.

All New Zealanders should be able to receive a free vaccine after July, Hipkins said, though that logistics were yet to be determined. “Our plan is to vaccinate as many people as possible before the end of the year …

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect the whānau, their lives and their livelihoods. The most important factor in removing Covid-19 restrictions will be the timely and high adoption of vaccines. “

The plan follows a poll conducted Wednesday by the global company Ipsos that suggested that only 51% of New Zealanders said they would likely take the hit; 18% said it was likely and 24% were unsure. The latter group said they were concerned that vaccines were advancing through clinical trials too quickly and about possible side effects.

Ipsos New Zealand Director of Public Affairs Research Amanda Dudding told Radio New Zealand that simply making the vaccine available to all New Zealanders would not be enough; the government would have to assure people that it was safe and effective.

A public health campaign is planned in the coming months.

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