COVID-19: New Zealand hits 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone

New Zealand has officially hit the 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. 

"We've now reached 90 percent fully vaccinated across the country - that means 3,788,151 New Zealanders have rolled up their sleeves to protect themselves, their whānau, friends and communities," Hipkins says. 

"We knew yesterday we'd reached the milestone, and now that the official count is through, we can formally recognise the hard work of everyone who has played their part, and who are continuing to do their bit."

Hipkins says New Zealanders have worked hard and deserve a Christmas break spent doing what they love. 

"Their commitment means all New Zealanders are safer and more protected, and can get back to doing the things they love, whether it's travelling to catch up with friends and family for Christmas, heading out to restaurants, pubs and cafes, or enjoying the many festivals and outdoor events planned for the summer."

The entire country, apart from Northland, is moving to the orange setting on December 30. Northland will remain at red due to low vaccination rates. 

It comes after all three Auckland DHBs hit the 90 percent vaccination target. So far seven DHBs have hit 90 percent including, Capital and Coast (94), Hutt Valley (90), Canterbury (93), and Southern (92).

The least vaccinated DHB is Northland on just 81 percent fully vaccinated and 88 percent first dose. Tairawhiti is next lowest with just 82 percent of residents fully vaccinated and 90 percent partially. 

Hipkins said there's still a lot of work to do. He urged anyone who hasn't been vaccinated to go and get their shot. 

"There are hundreds of places open until Christmas and over the summer holidays where you can get your vaccination, so it's never been easier.

"There's also a tonne of really good information available from official, trusted sources, which is a good place to start for anyone who still has questions. 

"We want all of our communities protected against COVID-19, and no one who's eligible to be left behind."

Hipkins also thanked the healthcare workers involved including vaccinators, DHB health teams, Māori and Pacific health providers, community NGOs, and Government ministries. 

"This tremendous result could not have happened without the efforts of the many thousands of people across Aotearoa who've worked tirelessly since the vaccination programme was launched early this year to support the goal of getting every eligible New Zealander vaccinated."