25 health workers receive Covid-19 vaccines in New Zealand

Wellington, Feb 19 (IANS) A total of 25 health workers on Friday became the first people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in New Zealand.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines were administered at an Auckland quarantine facility. These health workers got vaccinated while practicing administering the vaccine, the Xinhua news reported.

Border workers are to take shots on Saturday as part of a national vaccination roll-out.

“Our trial run at the Auckland quarantine facility today has confirmed our processes and systems are ready ahead of our first official day vaccinating border and MIQ (Managed Isolation and Quarantine) workers tomorrow,” Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told media.

The first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in New Zealand on Monday.

“Our border workforce such as cleaners, the nurses who undertake health checks in MIQ, security staff, customs and border officials, airline staff and hotel workers have worked tirelessly to keep all New Zealanders safe and will rightly be first to receive the vaccine,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand is expecting further vaccine shipments over coming weeks.

“As these batches arrive, we’ll vaccinate border workers’ household contacts, then the next group will be many frontline healthcare and essential workers, plus those most at risk from Covid-19, such as older people or those with medical conditions that make them vulnerable if infected,” Hipkins said.

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