It was a fun idea. Throw a big party, get lots of well-known Kiwis involved and try to make getting stabbed in the arm with a needle sound fun. A tough sell indeed, but with 861,500 Kiwis tuning in to the TV coverage across Three, TVNZ, Maori TV and digital channels, not to mention the record-breaking number of New Zealanders who showed up to get jabbed, the campaign was a resounding success.
By 3pm yesterday, New Zealand had smashed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's original target of 100,000 vaccinations for the day, so she then set her sights on 150,000. The second target wasn't quite reached, but by 10pm on Saturday, 129,965 doses had been given. That is roughly 2.5 per cent of the population.
The positive numbers aside, there were some show-stopping moments throughout the Vaxathon that are worth revisiting.
Near the top of the joyful moments of the Vaxathon would have to be Dr Ashley Bloomfield's dancing. The director general of health was caught on camera breaking out some enthusiastic dance moves at a Super Saturday event.
Speaking afterwards, Bloomfield said he had been "waiting all day to have a dance out here in Porirua". Bloomfield chose to shake his groove thing during a live performance of The Roimata Song, while wearing a colourful lei.
A dancing Ashley Bloomfield was also snapped later on in the evening alongside Vaxathon broadcast host Patrick Gower. Having promised to "have a dance" with Gower earlier in the day, it is good to see that Bloomfield is a man of his word.
"Wellington Paranormal" star Karen O'Leary performed an original song called "Get Ya Vaccine". Before strumming her first chord O'Leary joked: "Thank you very much, this song is called 'Get ya Vaccine'. Sing along at home if you want to - the words are pretty simple, it's 'get ya vaccine'." O'Leary then proceeded to perform her adorably tongue-in-cheek tune encouraging all of NZ to get vaccinated.
Co-host of the vaxathon, Patrick Gower, kept his promise from earlier in the day that he would perform a TikTok dance when vaccination numbers reached half way to the 100,000 target. This performance gets a 'e' for effort, but some extra practice sessions were definitely needed.
There were also some stand-out moments captured in the community of volunteers and medical professionals busting moves and generally amping up the fun to encourage vaccination.
The team at Blockhouse Bay Medical centre obviously put a lot of time and energy into this TikTok, which used song and dance to encourage people to turn up for their jab. Well done guys.
Shortland Street star Marianne Infante showed her support for Super Saturday with a wonderfully clever TikTok dance in which she pleaded for Kiwis to get the jab so that she could "stop dancing alone."
The vibe was positive all over New Zealand but this loud and proud party atmosphere at a vaccination centre in Onehunga wins the day for enthusiasm.