Covid 19 coronavirus: Half a million Pfizer vaccinations given to Aucklanders

A bouquet of orchid blooms for mum wasn’t the only thing Tiputa Tevaga was taking home to Māngere after he became the 500,000th person in Auckland to receive the Covid-19 jab today.

The 37-year-old- nicknamed Mr 500,000 by Highbrook Vaccination Centre staff – got a pat on the back and bouquet of flowers after he received his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“I’m going to give these to my mum,” the personal trainer said.

His message, though, would be for everyone – get vaccinated.

“I feel blessed and honoured [to be number 500,000]. I need to get it because part of my job is to work closely with others. Some of [my clients], they don’t believe in [vaccination].

“I want to encourage others. I just want to say to them, ‘if you love your life, if you want to live longer, do the right thing’.”

As of midnight Tuesday, July 6 just over 1.27 million Pfizer doses had been given in New Zealand, with just over half a million people fully vaccinated after receiving their second dose.

Tevaga, whose first language is Samoan, said he also hoped to see more information about the vaccine in his community, especially in churches.

He knew some people were afraid, but there was no need to be.

Vaccination didn’t hurt and there were ways to overcome any nerves, Tevaga said.

“Go with a supporter, especially if they’ve been vaccinated.”

Both Tevaga’s jabs were administered by Pelenaise Latu, a public health nurse who’s given more than 5000 vaccinations since the Highbrook Vaccination Centre opened in March.

Latu knows how hard it is to get the vaccination message through to some communities, but there was nothing to be afraid of.

“It’s a very painless process and it’s getting much better now. Just come and have it – it’s safe.”

Anyone still nervous should talk to their GP or Healthline, as support was available, Latu said.

And when people did come along they could expect a welcoming process, right from the first carpark checkpoint, through the health checks and into the vaccination booths.

That was important, she said.

“You have to go the right way from the start or people, they won’t come back for the second shot.”

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