Covid 19 coronavirus: No new cases in community, 7 in MIQ as health boss Ashley Bloomfield and Minister Peeni Henare unveil vaccine numbers
There are no new Covid-19 cases in the community, with seven cases detected in managed isolation facilities.
Health authorities released the information shortly after 1pm, one day after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the opening of a travel bubble with Australia.
The seven new cases included one person from the US, who arrived on March 22 on a direct flight and tested positive on about day 14 of their stay after contact with a positive case.
The other six cases were all from India, having all flown through the United Arab Emirates.
That meant the seven-day rolling average of new cases detected at the border is five, and the total number of active cases in New Zealand is 81.
The country’s total number of confirmed cases is 2175.
Since January 1, 2021, there have been 43 historical cases, out of a total of 363 cases.
The vaccine rollout
Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield and Associate Minister Peeni Henare, meanwhile, are this afternoon providing a vaccine update.
The vaccination rollout is expected to ramp up over the coming weeks, Bloomfield said.
There have been 90,200 vaccines administered to date – the 100,000 mark is expected to be passed in the next couple of days.A total of 19,273 people have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
So far, New Zealand is at 96 per cent of where it is at on the rollout compared to its expectations.
Bloomfield said 35,000 doses a week will be delivered through DHBs and that will only ramp up, Bloomfield said.
“We’re in a very different situation from most other countries,” he said.
Other countries have had major outbreaks, New Zealand has not.
“We don’t want to take our eye off the ball.”
He said New Zealand was in a similar situation to Australia.
“We’re in a position where we can take a measured and steady approach,” Bloomfield said.
“We have made a very good start in this programme … now it is starting to scale up.”
No supply issues
Bloomfield said NZ is rolling out Pfizer vaccines, which is highly effective.
Advanced purchase agreements remain in place with other providers, he confirmed.
This would help mitigate any supply issues – not that Pfizer have outlined any issues thus far, he said.
The Janssen vaccine is the next in line to receive the health nod. A decision on whether or not it can be used will be made on April 15.
He said like New Zealand, Australia has been in the position of rolling out a vaccination programme while Covid was not in the community.
He said New Zealand’s programme has been “rigorous”.
Officials have been talking to people in Israel and the UK to help with the rollout.
He also revealed that the Ministry will have much more up-to-date information on its website about the vaccine effort. This dashboard will have have lots of information, including vaccinations by ethnicity.
MP has had his first vaccination
Henare said he received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this morning.
“I can report that I am well – I look forward to spreading the message around the vaccine,” he said.
He will promote the vaccine in the South Island to Māori communities this week.
He said the principles of the vaccine programme was around equity within the priority groups.
He said the MoH has been in conversations with Māori health providers about the rollout.
Iwi leaders and communications networks have been utilised, and social media will be used too.
He is working with Māori health providers to train more Māori to administer the vaccine.
Henare said New Zealand was on track when it came to the Māori vaccination campaign.
The Government was working with Māori health providers at the moment to train more people to be able to give the vaccine.
“We’re going to do our best to raise those numbers.”
Medsafe report due
This afternoon, Medsafe will be publishing a report on adverse affects of the vaccine, Bloomfield said.
So far, there have been 147 adverse reactions – any reaction, mind or serious.
Three were considered “serious” – all people had some type of allergic reaction.
There have been 86 special vaccines administered so far, from those who are looking to go overseas for special purposes.
Of the 86 special vaccines granted on “national significance” Bloomfield said most of them were New Zealand Olympians.
The others were diplomats.
Last week, the Government reported just under 66,300 vaccines had been administered to date.
About 52,183 New Zealanders had received a single dose, and 16,483 had received both, it said.
For the next couple of months, officials expect 7000-8000 people to be vaccinated each day.
The Government aimed to ramp up to 50,000-60,000 vaccinations a day, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said last week.
As the number of New Zealanders getting the jab continues to grow, so too does the number of ministers getting the vaccine.
Hipkins got the jab last week; Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall got hers the following day.
This morning, Health Minister Andrew Little received his vaccine at Wellington Regional Hospital.
“The theme for World Health Day 2021 is ‘building a fairer, healthier world for everyone’,” he told NZ Doctor, “a theme that certainly resonates in the wake of how Covid-19 has affected so many whānau around Aotearoa.”
Vaccination, he said, was the safest and most effective way to protect people against Covid-19.
“The vaccination programme will help put the nation back on track so we can once again put our full focus on improving the equity and outcomes of our health system.”
Henare got the vaccine this morning.
The Government had said it wanted to get all its health-focused ministers vaccinated in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won’t be getting her vaccine until the general rollout mid-year.
“I do want to demonstrate that it’s not only safe to take at the time but long term it’s safe, and so I will do it early on … before we start the mass rollout,” she told the AM Show last week.
This comes as the Government comes under pressure over its lack of data on the vaccine rollout.
More than six weeks later there are still no vaccination progress numbers on the Ministry of Health’s website, the Herald reported this morning.
The National Party has been critical of the fact the Minister of Health only reveals how many people have been given the vaccine once a week.
In other countries, there is up-to-the-second information on how many people have got the jab.
National’s Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop said it was not good enough New Zealand was settling for “sporadic updates, randomly announced by Chris Hipkins or Ashley Bloomfield”.
“New Zealanders should be getting near-daily announcements, published by the Ministry of Health, so everyone can see how our vaccine rollout is going. This isn’t rocket science – it already happens with testing and tracing.”
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