Covid-19 vaccination officially kicks off in New Zealand

Auckland (New Zealand), Feb 20 (IANS) The official roll out of New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccination began on Saturday when border workers received their first vaccinations in Auckland’s quarantine facility.

Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health from the Ministry of Health, said the country has arrived at a key point in its pandemic response, with Saturday’s first vaccinations for border workers, the Xinhua news reported.

“Today, we kick off the largest immunisation program in our history by vaccinating the first of our border workforce, a critical step in protecting everyone in New Zealand,” said Bloomfield when addressing a media conference in Auckland.

The vaccination program will start on Monday in Wellington and then Christchurch on Wednesday, before starting to vaccinate the rest of New Zealand’s about 12,000 border workers and workers in the managed isolation and quarantine facilities over the next few weeks, according to Bloomfield.

Once the border workers have been vaccinated, the members of their household contacts will be vaccinated. The vaccination of the general public is expected to start from the second half of 2021, according to the New Zealand Covid-19 vaccine strategy.

The first batch of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines has arrived in New Zealand, less than one week before the national vaccine roll-out. On Friday, 25 vaccinators received the first jabs of the vaccine in Auckland.

The general public was urged to stay vigilant and stick to the basic hygiene practices at the media conference.

New Zealand’s largest city Auckland is currently at Covid-19 Alert Level Two and the rest of the country at Covid-19 Alert Level One.

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