The Highbrook vaccination centre in Auckland was forced into closure by overcapacity issues on three occasions before walk-in vaccinations were halted.
On Thursday last week, the site on Highbrook Drive in East Tāmaki stopped entry to people seeking a vaccination for 30 minutes, with some being mistakenly turned away, as the carpark had become too full.
On Tuesday, the site again closed for 30 minutes due to the same issue as reported in the NZ Herald, which saw people with appointments waiting hours or having to leave as people without bookings clogged the system.
Finally, yesterday - the day walk-in vaccinations were stopped - the site saw its third closure, this time for an hour so staff could clear the backlog.
The persistent issue prompted the Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre (NRHCC) to end the trials of walk-in vaccinations in place at Highbrook and a Mt Wellington site, which began late last week.
"Walk-in demand has been high at these sites ... so we're going to take a moment to reflect on the last week and assess what changes may need to be made before allowing walk-ins back at those sites," NRHCC vaccination programme lead Matt Hannant said yesterday afternoon.
The decision followed the Herald's story yesterday
which dubbed the site "a shambles" after 81-year-old Robin Cornish was turned away as the site closed, despite having an appointment.
The experience, recounted by daughter Wendy who went with her, had seemingly convinced Robin she didn't want to return for her vaccination.
"My mum doesn't want to go back. She's really upset and she was really stressed," Wendy said on Wednesday.
Covid-19 minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged Cornish's experience at yesterday's
1pm Covid media conference, saying it was "very unfortunate" and asked the general public to refrain from visiting vaccination centres without a booking.
Following yesterday's story, the Herald received many accounts from other people who had had similar issues and noted how it had made them reluctant to go back for their vaccination.
Many expressed their appreciation for the staff performing the vaccination, however, they criticised the overall management of the process.
Fifty-three-year-old Martin Hyde, who sought a vaccine because his son was set to work in managed isolation, was one of several who were forced to leave Highbrook on Tuesday due to the congestion.
He said accepting walk-ins made "a mockery" of the appointment system and while he would return, he considered it likely others wouldn't.
"People might be anxious about [being vaccinated] in the first place and it's just creating more anxiety for them having to rebook and go back again. It may well deter them from having the [vaccine]."
Robert Horneman and his wife, both in their 70s, had driven from Papakura to the Highbrook site for their appointments on Tuesday, but would be waiting at least a few weeks before heading back after being caught out by the closure.
"The anxiety before going ... and then a big letdown, it was just a waste of time. I've got no desire to go back through that again."
Bombay resident Jill Harvie, 80, had booked an appointment at the Mt Wellington site on Tuesday, but was told to come back in an hour by security staff because the site was at capacity.
Harvie, insisting on getting the vaccine, was fortunately let in but had to endure a roughly four-hour wait until she was able to leave. Not pleased, Harvie said the lack of organisation was a blight on the efforts of "lovely" vaccination staff.
"It made me question whether I want to go back for the second dose."
Hannant said processes would be reviewed before deciding whether to allow walk-ins at the Highbrook and Mt Wellington sites. He said he was "incredibly pleased" people had acknowledged the good work of vaccination staff.
Asked why the lessons learned concerning capacity from issues at Covid-19 testing centres last year hadn't been applied at these sites, Hannant said the vaccine rollout was the "largest logistical exercise ever undertaken by the health sector in New Zealand" and they were learning every day.
About 120,000 people in New Zealand were now fully vaccinated.