Coronavirus: Auckland Councillor calls for COVID-19 vaccine incentives to reach targets amid slump

An Auckland Councillor is calling for the use of incentives to help get more eligible New Zealanders vaccinated against COVID-19.

The number of people getting vaccines is plummeting and nearly one million eligible people are still without a single dose.

Although 92 percent of the over-65 population and 66 percent of 12 to 34-year-olds have received their first dose, disparity worsens for those who have been given their second dose.

Eighty-two percent of the over-54 population is fully vaccinated compared to just 22 percent of those in the 12 to 34 age bracket.

It's a far cry from the Government's target of vaccinating 90 percent of eligible people, and Auckland Councillor Daniel Newman says it's incentives that will get New Zealand across the line.

"There's been plenty of opportunity for people to make an informed choice. If people have been reluctant we've got to do everything to get those last few in," he says.

COVID-19 vaccinations come with perks at Papakura High School, including coffees, drinks, and zoo passes. Principal Simon Craggs is encouraging his students to do their bit.

"We're trying to get as many of our school community down here to get jabs in their arms," he says.

The Government announced a double-whammy of testing and vaccination sessions beginning at Bunnings and Mitre 10 in Manukau on Thursday. But half an hour before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made this announcement, the vaccination bus had already left due to lack of demand.

But there was barely anyone in line for it anyway since GPs say vaccine appointments aren't being booked.

"There is capacity all over the system at the moment and that's consistent with the overall drop in vaccine numbers that we're seeing," says Dr Bryan Betty, medical director of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners.

On Wednesday, 13,914 people received their first COVID-19 vaccine, which is just a quarter of the numbers seen during the peak of the outbreak.

The Government is hoping a new free taxi service will encourage more demand to help reach their vaccine goal.