Northland health officials are celebrating the region hitting 80 per cent of people being double-vaccinated today, but say there's still some way to go to hit the magical 90 per cent mark.
Northland has hit the milestone of 80 per cent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated, and Northland District Health Board (NDHB) expects to reach 90 per cent of at least one dose by the end of December.
The news comes as the DHB warns that visitors to Northland who test positive for Covid 19 while here will be asked to return to their usual residence if they can travel there safely. If they have taken public transport to Northland, they will need to remain in isolation in Northland for up to 10 days.
Nearly 20,000 first doses were administered in the region during October and November. There are now only 5500 more vaccinations needed for the region to reach 90 per cent first dose coverage, Jeanette Wedding, Senior Responsible Officer for the Northland Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said.
She said the growth is also reflected in the vaccination rates for Northland's Māori and Pacific populations.
Over 93 per cent of Northland Pacific people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 80 per cent of Māori. A further 5000 first doses are needed for Māori to reach the 90 per cent mark, which Northland DHB believes is achievable.
In October, nearly 8700 Māori received their first dose compared to 2803 Māori receiving their first dose back in July.
There were three new Covid cases announced in Northland yesterday - two were linked to previous cases and one was a person from the Bay of Plenty who returned a positive Covid-19 test in Kaitaia. This case has been transferred to Bay of Plenty DHB and will be recorded in their case numbers once interviews have been completed.
Wedding is excited to see the vaccination progress that Northland is making.
"Northlanders should be proud of this milestone, and for doing what they need to, to protect themselves and their whānau against Covid-19," she said.
"Over the last two to three weeks, the rate of Māori receiving their first dose has increased greatly. Last week Māori first dose was sitting at 75 per cent. Now they are at 80 per cent, and fully vaccinated has gone from 63 per cent to 67 per cent."
In addition, the uptake amongst the Indian community is also excellent, with 92 per cent having had their first dose and 87 per cent fully vaccinated.
Once the region reaches the 90 per cent milestone for fully vaccinated Northlanders, everyone who has received two doses will automatically be in the draw to win a car, supported by Mark Cromie Motor Group.
Wedding said the progress is the result of incredibly hard work by the Northland DHB team and their partners across the region.
"This is a huge Northland-wide effort by DHB staff, Māori Health Providers, iwi, general practice, pharmacies and many other organisations, working together to support our communities to be vaccinated. Everyone involved is putting in lots of long hours."
Northland DHB is asking locals and visitors to the region to be prepared for Covid-19 over the holiday period and to have a care plan in place. The care plan should outline what they would do if they test positive for the virus.
Further information and a readiness checklist can be found on the Unite Against Covid-19 website.
Wedding said visitors to Northland who test positive will be asked to return to their usual residence if they can travel there safely. If they have taken public transport to Northland, they will need to remain in isolation in Northland for up to 10 days.
Anyone travelling with them is classified as a close contact and will also need to isolate for 7-10 days depending on their vaccination status.
"Our message for everyone, including visitors, is to make sure you are prepared before you come to Northland and get fully vaccinated, get prescriptions filled and bring any medical supplies you need with you,'' she said.
"With Covid in Northland, we all need to display a Covid QR Poster at home or the bach, so we can trace you if you come into contact with an infected person, mask up, scan in everywhere you go and use your My Vaccine Pass.
"And above all, please, if you're not feeling well, stay home and call the Covid Healthline on 0800 358 5453 to see if you need to have a test."
The total number of confirmed community cases in the October 2021 Northland outbreak is 94, with one additional case currently being transferred. Twelve of the cases are active, 82 have now recovered and have been released from isolation.
One new location of interest in Northland has been identified - The Warehouse Kaitaia on December 2, and December 4 between 8am and 5pm.
Northland locations of interest and vaccination and testing sites are available at https://www.northlanddhb.org.nz/home/covid-19/.