Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Nationwide vaccine rate drop over long weekend

* ‘It feels like we’re the guinea pigs’: Some students nervous about return to school
* Inside the Te Awamutu cluster – epicentre of the Waikato spread
* The 90% Project: How to enable vaccination in key populations
* Derek Cheng: Hundreds of cases now self-isolating. Why can’t vaxed travellers do the same?
* Gangs may hold key to vaccination success

A long weekend and unsettled weather may have put Aucklanders off getting vaccinated this long weekend with fewer than 8000 Aucklanders getting a jab on Sunday and only small numbers turning up to two special events yesterday.

Based on the most recent figures available 90 per cent of the region’s eligible population has had a first dose, while 77 per cent were fully vaccinated as of Sunday night.

Broken down by regional DHBs Auckland city is sitting on 93 per cent for first doses while Waitemata is on 90 per cent and Counties Manukau is on 88 per cent.

In terms of second-doses, Auckland DHB sits on 81 per cent, Waitemata on 76 per cent and Counties Manukau 73 per cent.

While Monday’s figures won’t be available until today, Sunday’s numbers did little to help Counties Manukau where only 695 people turned up for their first jab. That left another 11,728 people needing to be vaccinated before reaching the 90 per cent target for first doses.

The low numbers come as 109 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded yesterday, four of which were in Waikato and two in Northland. The remainder were in Auckland.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said bad weather and a long weekend were likely the reason for lower vaccination rates but that it was reflected in most parts of the country.

With the virus spreading in the community and rising case numbers, Goff said it is “critical” to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Meanwhile high schools can re-open from today for Year 11-13 students in Auckland.

Howick College principal Iva Ropati said everyone was a little nervous, apprehensive and excited today.

“Students are nervous, staff are nervous about coming back. It’s just a really unusual situation,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast show.

Ropati said the college was only partially opening up to senior students.
“We want no risk,” he said.

They had told students and families that it was optional to come to school.

They were supporting those students who chose to keep learning from home due to various circumstances – including vulnerable people at home and feeling anxious about physically returning to school.

Ropati said they were expecting about 300 students returning today. They were partially opening up because the senior roll reached more than 1000 students.

Papakura High School principal Simon Craggs said the school was opening up fully to senior students today.

He acknowledged that many students in their community had struggled during lockdown, with a low engagement via online learning.

Craggs said teachers would also be trying to give their lessons outside as much as possible – weather permitting.

But there were still parents who felt they were not yet ready to send their children back to school and Craggs said he had received a number of emails from parents expressing those concerns.

“We just want them to come back. We want them to feel safe.

“If they don’t feel safe, stay at home until you do.”

* 7.07am: Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson
* 7.37am: Auckland University epidemiologist Rod Jackson
* 7.50am: Auckland councillor Josephine Bartley

Community-led vaccination events

Auckland University public health professor Dr Collin Tukuitonga said hoped upcoming community-led vaccination events will draw in people.

“It may be a daily one-off thing and then it will pick up again, we know there is quite a lot of momentum now by Māori and Pacifica communities with people organising events,” he said.

Yesterday two of those kinds of events were held in South Auckland with the aim of increasing Māori vaccination rates. Nearly 200 people attended with the majority getting their first vaccination.

A few of the area’s leading Māori health providers set off from Manurewa marae and hit the streets in Manurewa and Papakura to start an open kōrero around vaccinations.

Clinical Director for the Northern Region health Coordination Centre Dr Anthony Jordan said vaccinations were the added bonus.

“The aim was to encourage unvaccinated whanau to feel comfortable to come out and talk to us so they could make informed decisions about receiving the vaccine.

A vaccination drive-through and walk-in event at Rongomai Park was held in Flat Bush with performances from musicians such as King Kapisi and Che Fu. Around 70 per cent of those who attended the event received their first dose.

As many community events are still being planned, Immunologist Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu said amazing work has been done by community and health leaders.

“Our Pacific and Māori communities and respective health workforces, have all been doing an amazing job working tirelessly, mobilising and rallying to continue doing the work that’s needed to reach some of the hard to reach in our communities.”

Nationally, just under 19,000 people were vaccinated on Sunday, 5335 for the first time. This compares with 44,750 vaccinations on Friday and 42,482 on Saturday.

Another 144,814 need their first jabs before the country will be 90 per cent partially vaccinated.

Sika-Paotonu said there might be many reasons people haven’t been vaccinated yet.

“I think it would be incorrect to assume those who are yet to receive their Covid-19 vaccine are just all against having the vaccine. What we know is that accessibility issues persist for hard-to-reach communities and more vaccination outreach activities and events that are resourced appropriately are needed.”

A Ngāti Whātua led vaccination event was announced over the weekend and will be held at Eden Park on November 6 and 7.

“Get dotted, dot your lot, dot your sleeve to support, connect your dots, and help our whānau, hapū, iwi and all our communities in Tamaki Makaurau,” the organisers state on their website.

Tāmaki Tū Kotahi is a group of Māori health leaders, Kapa haka groups and corporate providers who have all come together Auckland over the 90 per cent line.

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