Over half of New Zealand border workforce receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccination

2021-03-03 04:06:28 GMT2021-03-03 12:06:28(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WELLINGTON, March 3 (Xinhua) -- More than half of New Zealand's estimated 12,000 border workforces have received their first jab of the COVID-19 vaccination, as a third batch of vaccines arrived in the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday.

As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 9,431 people had received their first doses. More than 70 percent of those, which equates to 6,688 people, had been delivered in the Auckland region, Hipkins told a press conference.

"We are well on our way to ensuring those who are most at risk of COVID-19, the cleaners, nurses who carry out health checks in MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine facilities), security staff, customs and border officials, hotel workers, airline staff, port authorities and vaccinators will be protected from this virus," Hipkins said.

A third shipment of 65,500 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday, bringing the total number of COVID-19 vaccines in New Zealand to 200,000, he said.

"From here, we plan to ramp up the vaccination program, as we move to vaccinate border worker's families and household contacts. We will then move on to front line health and emergency staff - those people who may be exposed to COVID-19 while doing their jobs," he said.

Border workers' families and household contacts will start to be vaccinated in earliest next week, but in some smaller regions, district health boards have already been able to expand their programs to include these groups, the minister said. Enditem