COVID-19: Ashley Bloomfield hints Aucklanders could see more freedoms in early December

The Director-General of Health has hinted Aucklanders could see more freedoms in early December if the city hits a 90 percent double dose vaccination rate. 

Speaking with The AM Show on Monday, Ashley Bloomfield said a 90 percent vaccination rate for the eligible population is key to managing COVID-19 case numbers. 

It comes after the Super Saturday vaccination event which helped bump vaccine rates up. More than 85 percent of eligible Kiwis have now received their first dose of Pfizer and 89 percent of Aucklanders. 

Based on current modelling that could see 90 percent of Aucklanders fully vaccinated by early December. The AM Show host Ryan Bridge asked Bloomfield whether Aucklanders are likely to see restrictions ease in time for Christmas. 

"The forecasting says within a week we [Auckland] will hit 90 percent for first dose, that means that hopefully if everyone does the three week time period that means finally we are going to be out of lockdown in about three and a half to four weeks time, which is fantastic news for Auckland," Bridge said. 

While Bloomfield wouldn't confirm Aucklanders would gain freedom in early December, he didn't rule it out. 

"It is brilliant news for Auckland and it just goes to show the hard work has been put in. All the commenters are talking about 90 percent being a really important milestone and I call it a milestone because we are not stopping there. Every percentage point above 90 actually makes a difference as well but it will be a very important milestone for Auckland," the Director-General of Health. 

Bridge followed up pushing Bloomfield for some confirmation once Auckland hits 90 percent we would see more freedoms. 

Bloomfield said it's great progress but ultimately the decision to lift restrictions sits with Cabinet. 

"That's not my decision, that's Cabinet's decision but that 90 percent vaccination rate is clearly a key milestone and will play an important part of the Government's decision making." 

Bridge asked whether Bloomfield would advise the Government to loosen restrictions once we hit 90 percent. 

"It's the Government's decision... That's the vaccination rate but also case numbers and other things but we do know the modelling shows a 90 percent milestone is really important for being able to manage the cases in the community," Bloomfield replied. 

Nearly 130,000 people received a COVID-19 vaccination during the Super Saturday event. 

Of the 129,995 doses administered, 39,024 were first doses and 90,971-second doses.