Crowds are beginning to gather in Auckland’s Manukau ahead of New Zealand’s first mass vaccination event.
More than 16,000 South Aucklanders are set to receive their first vaccination shot over the weekend, with the event at the Vodafone Event Centre starting this morning.
Acting Covid-19 response minister Dr Ayesha Verrall deemed today’s mass vaccination event the “olympics of vaccination” and was confident health staff would claim gold.
“We’ll learn from this event and that will influence how we use similar mass vaccination events across the programme.”
She confirmed workplace vaccinations would begin in the coming weeks with employers including Fonterra and Mainfrieght, which were signaled as early participants of the vaccination programme when the general public rollout plan was revealed.
About 3000 of the roughly 16,500 people booked to get the jab over the next three days were MIT students and staff.
Asked whether communication with the community had been sufficient leading up to the event, Verrall pointed to the fact the event was fully booked out as an indicator of how well the community was consulted.
About 5000 vaccines were set to be delivered today with staff arriving at 6am to get a head start on drawing up the vaccine.
Mass vaccination lead Alex Pimm said the site had the capability to handle long queues but didn’t anticipate people waiting long.
He said the average time it would take to meet a vaccinator and get the jab would be about 90 seconds, however he expected variability.
NRHCC vaccination programme director Matt Hannant believed those arriving for vaccination would still get a personable experience while getting the jab.
In a release from the Auckland District Health Board, it said it wanted to “thank the local community in South Auckland for getting behind this event”.
“This helps to show that there is demand for this type of vaccination event in New Zealand, following their success in other countries.
“Our Mass Vaccination Event is based on an international model, designed to get large groups of people vaccinated efficiently and safely in a short period of time at a single venue.”
People coming for the vaccine will come into the arena, queue up and then be directed to a seat in a booth. There are 242 vaccination booths in the centre.
Once seated all of the services will be delivered there.
“This minimises movement and disruption and allows for a higher throughput of people,” the DHB said.
“We will have 12 vaccinators operating each day of the event.
“A vaccinator will come with a trolley and administer the vaccine then people will be required to wait in the booth for observation for 20 minutes. There will be a team of medically trained observers assigned to a row who will monitor people and provide assistance if needed.
“Once the 20-minute observation period is up people will be taken by shuttle back to the MIT campus.”
The DHB said the event had been fully booked. People without a booking are asked not to attend.
A repeat event will take place between September 10-12.
“Mass vaccination events are just one of the ways we are making it easy for people to be vaccinated,” the DHB said.
“We offer a range of options so that people can get vaccinated in a setting that suits them, ranging from our community vaccination centres, through to GP clinics, pharmacies and mass vaccination events.
“If you are eligible to be vaccinated, you can call 0800 28 29 26 to book your vaccination at a location that works for you.”
Prior to the event kicking off, the Auckland DHB had administered 673,000 vaccine doses in the Auckland metro region.
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