Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday morning.
Bloomfield said afterwards he was “feeling great, actually”.
“It’s really nice to have got to this point,” Bloomfield said.
Bloomfield received his jab at Wellington’s Pipitea Marae, which had only just been stood up as a vaccination centre to cater for increased demand for jabs and greater social distancing.
He said he had not received Sunday’s latest case numbers, which will be announced at 1pm.
Bloomfield acknowledged there was increased demand on the system. On Friday, New Zealand recorded 56,843 vaccinations, the highest ever one day tally.
“Last Sunday if you were booking your vaccination there were a lot of slots – that’s not the case now.
“One of the things we’ve seen of course with the outbreak is huge interest in people getting their vaccination as soon as possible – I can certainly recommend the experience,” he said.
But the country is still mostly unvaccinated with only about a fifth of New Zealanders fully vaccinated. By contrast, 75 per cent of British people over 16 have had both doses of vaccine.
Bloomfield said the latest outbreak was a “reminder” of Covid-era uncertainty.
“I think it’s a reminder for all of us that this virus can arrive at any time,” Bloomfield said.
“Even in countries like ours that have taken this elimination approach – vaccinations are a hugely important part, not just of us being able to protect ourselves now – but of us being able to reopen,” Bloomfield said.
Most vaccinations were paused briefly as New Zealand went into lockdown on Wednesday.
This has meant some previously scheduled vaccinations, including jabs for priority groups, were cancelled – requiring people to rebook.
Bloomfield said these vaccinations could be rebooked.
“My advice is to keep looking at BookMyVaccine to see if appointments do come up.
“You will find that, especially as we come out of Alert Level 4, hopefully sooner rather than later, that the providers will be in touch to try and find earlier slots for people in group 3 who might be at higher risk”.
New Zealand is currently in the grips of its first Delta lockdown with 51 cases as of Saturday.
Lockdown has been extended to Tuesday, although it is likely to be extended further in Auckland at least.
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