COVID-19: Inside New Zealand's first large-scale vaccination clinic

New Zealand's first large-scale COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened in south Auckland on Tuesday.

The East Tamaki clinic will be conducting a vaccine rollout to border workers' household contacts - the next phase in the country's vaccination strategy.

"The newly established vaccination centre has been set up in East Tamaki as we ramp up our immunisation programme for this next phase to vaccinate the estimated 50,000 household contacts of our border and MIQ workforce," Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says.

"Initially, about 150 people a day will get vaccinated at the clinic, but we plan to rapidly increase these numbers over the coming week.

"Today, 10 vaccinators have been on-site, including some who have been vaccinating border workers in the past few weeks. At this stage, we're vaccinating people who have been invited to attend the clinic."

Dr Bloomfield says there will be two other large-scale vaccination centres to open in the coming weeks - one in west Auckland and one in central Auckland.

"We'll also initially focus on household contacts of our border and MIQ workers."

"We're partnering with some Māori and Pacific non-government organisations to set up smaller community-based vaccination clinics in south Auckland," Dr Bloomfield adds.

Denise Fogasavaii says it's vital for family members of border workers to get vaccinated.
Denise Fogasavaii says it's vital for family members of border workers to get vaccinated. Photo credit: Ministry of Health

Air New Zealand employee James Fogasavaii's household contacts headed to the vaccination clinic on Tuesday morning.

"I think it's important for my family itself just to protect them from the COVID that's happening around the world," Fogasavaii says.

"I think it's vital that they do get it and it will be good so that we can be advocates for our community, especially for church, just to spread the word that it is important to get this vaccination done."

James' sister Denise agrees that it is vital for family members of border workers to also get vaccinated.

"Level 4 was hectic for us because (James) had to isolate separately from our family, especially when we've got vulnerable people at home as well," she says.

"I've got my parents, my aunty and my uncle, so it was important for me to actually get it as well.

"I know a lot of our old people are probably scared of getting the vaccine but getting it today, it doesn't hurt, and it is important for everybody to get it."

Aaron Te Moananua's partner works at a managed isolation facility. He is keen to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

"Living with someone who works in the borders and just putting my family in safe arms, just makes me comfortable getting this injection today," he says.

"If you're unsure, just talk with people like myself who have got it done before. You don't know until you get here and like I say, the nurses will make you feel welcomed and feel like there's nothing to worry about. So yeah, whānau, come along and get the jab."