COVID-19: Waikato becomes latest district health board to reach 90 percent first vaccine doses

Waikato is the latest district health board to reach the COVID vaccination milestone of 90 percent first doses.

But health officials say the job isn't yet done.

Waikato hit the 90 percent mark on Sunday afternoon - making it the 13th DHB to do so.

Officials say 90 percent of the region's Pacific population have also received the first dose.

Maree Munro, the Waikato DHB's COVID-19 programme lead, says they are major milestones but their eye is still on getting 90 percent of eligible people fully vaccinated.

She says Waikato has a large and vulnerable Māori population which is still lagging - with just under 80 percent having their first shot.

"The job's not done yet for our team Waikato… We need to reach that 90 percent fully vaccinated rate.

"When we break down the data into age or ethnicity groups we are not there yet. We have a large and vulnerable Māori population who are 7265 [shots] short of reaching the 90 percent first dose target.

"Although we have vaccinated over 95 percent of our Māori and Pacific kaumatua who are 65-plus years we need to reach the younger generation to achieve 90 percent first doses for Māori and then for full vaccination so everyone in our community has a high level of protection."

But epidemiologist Rod Jackson is adamant 90 percent vaccination rates aren't high enough in New Zealand.

Dr Jackson.
Dr Jackson. Photo credit: Newshub.

Dr Jackson told Newshub New Zealand needed to have the best protection possible.

"We really have to get really high vaccination rates. We should be aiming for way over 95 percent.

"Ninety percent is a fantastic start but we need to aim much higher."    

There were 149 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday - the lowest number of daily cases in almost two weeks.