COVID-19: Auckland becomes first DHB in NZ to reach 90 percent double-vaccinated

Auckland DHB has today become New Zealand's first to reach 90 percent fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has revealed.

In a statement released to media on Friday afternoon, the ministry said by 11:45am on Friday, just 101 more people needed to get their second dose to cross the threshold.

Based on Auckland DHB's rolling seven-day average of 1058 second doses administered a day, the 90 percent mark was expected to be reached within hours.

And now it's been confirmed, with the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre (NRHCC) announcing it had reached the milestone early on Friday afternoon.

NRHCC programme director Matt Hannant is thrilled with the news, and thanked the community for "stepping up to help protect themselves and their whānau".

"This success is absolutely down to the countless hours, good spirits and sustained efforts of all the community leaders, Māori and Pacific provider partners and GP, pharmacy and DHB staff," he said.

"They've been out there at community events and on the streets with their mobile campervan clinics, doing everything from answering questions and providing vaccinations through to manning sausage sizzles."

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield described reaching the milestone as a "phenomenal achievement", and thanked health workers and the 381,562 people in Auckland DHB for getting their two shots.

"I want to congratulate you all for your outstanding commitment towards making New Zealand a safer place for yourselves, your whānau and your communities," he said.

"I also acknowledge that Auckland has faced our greatest burden during this Delta outbreak and everyone across New Zealand owes a debt of gratitude to all Aucklanders for helping to keep us safe. Thank you."

The result marks a major milestone in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Auckland, the epicentre of New Zealand's Delta outbreak - and in the bid to drop restrictions in a region that has been locked down for more than three months.

However Auckland DHB won't be opening up straight away, as the two other DHBs in the Auckland Metro area - Counties Manukau and Waitematā - need to reach the same milestone before the entire region moves out of the alert level system and into the less restrictive traffic light system.

Waitematā currently sitting at 87 per cent double dose rates and Counties Manukau at 84, the NRHCC says. At current rates, Waitematā is roughly 12 days from reaching 90 percent double-dosed and Counties Manukau about three weeks away.

The NRHCC says more than 100 pop-up events are planned in the lead-up to Christmas across Auckland - and Hannant promises there is "lots of support is available" for those who haven't yet been vaccinated and are uneasy about getting the jab.

"It's okay to still be feeling a bit unsure. We know that some people still have questions, so please come along to have a chat to one of our staff members, or speak with your trusted health professional," he said.

"There are still lots of opportunities to get your first or second dose now, so that you can start using the new vaccine pass and make the most of your summer. We also have free taxis available for those that might have difficulty getting along to a clinic."

As of Friday morning, 755 more Māori from Auckland DHB needed to receive their first dose to reach 90 percent of Māori being partially vaccinated, while 75 percent are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile another 1035 more Pasifika from Auckland DHB need to receive their first dose to reach 90 percent for this demographic, and 78 percent are fully vaccinated.

Earlier on Friday, the Ministry of Health announced 198 new cases of COVID-19. This includes 152 in Auckland, 30 in Waikato, five in Northland, six in the Bay of Plenty, two in the Lakes District, and one each in Mid-Central, Wairarapa and Canterbury.

A weak positive result in Wellington was also detected.