Vaccine blitz urged as NZ records 14 cases

·2-min read

New Zealand has reported 14 new community cases of COVID-19 as Auckland enters its fifth week in lockdown.

The 14 cases on Wednesday, all in Auckland, is down from 15 on Tuesday and 33 on Monday.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield was pleased with the case profile, saying "It's clear that all our new cases are linked to existing cases".

There are 20 Kiwis in hospital with the virus and four in intensive care.

The outbreak has infected 983 people, causing one death - an Auckland woman aged in her 90s.

One of Wednesday's new cases is a worker within NZ's border regime.

Dr Bloomfield said that person, who was fully vaccinated, has a likely link to another community case and is unlikely to have been infected through a leak in a quarantine hotel.

NZ's outbreak was first identified on August 17, with the whole country plunged into a lockdown a day later.

While most of NZ has since exited lockdown, Auckland has hit day 29 in the harsh level four settings.

Jacinda Ardern's government is focused on lifting vaccination rates.

On Tuesday, about 62,000 people, or 1.2 per cent of the population, received one of their two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Some 4.44 million doses have been administered this year, with 70 per cent of eligible Kiwis partially vaccinated and 36 per cent fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins admitted gaps in vaccination among vulnerable groups, saying "underneath those numbers sit some challenges".

Just 48 per cent of the eligible Maori population have been partially vaccinated, and 23 per cent fully vaccinated.

Among the Pacific community, which has suffered disproportionately through outbreaks, the figure is slightly higher: 62 per cent have had their first jab, and 33 per cent their second.

"We need to see those continue to climb," Mr Hipkins said.

Only 10 per cent of Kiwis over 65 are yet to be vaccinated.

NZ has purchased 750,000 doses from Denmark and Spain this month to maintain high supply rates as it attempts a vaccination blitz this month.

Health Ministry data states 78 per cent of eligible New Zealanders have a booking to be vaccinated.

Ms Ardern's long-stated goal is to vaccinate all consenting adult Kiwis this year.

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