Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received her first Covid vaccine with little fuss at Manurewa Marae, saying it was "pretty pain-free".
In a matter of seconds, vaccination centre clinical lead Nicole Andrews had the needle in and out of Ardern's arm with little fuss before administering another vaccine to Ardern's chief science advisor Juliet Gerrard.
Prior to her vaccination, Ardern received a wonderful whakatau with about 50 pupils from Te Wharekura o Manurewa singing beautiful waiata alongside Ardern.
Asked why she received the vaccine ahead of her group 4 rollout age bracket, Ardern said she needed to be a "role model" for others.
Marae vaccine bookings cancelled, PM to get jabbed at same site
Earlier, Covid vaccination bookings at Manurewa Marae in Auckland were cancelled, but officials said it's nothing to do with Ardern getting her own jab there.
Ian Brice and his wife, 71-year-olds from Pukekohe, were supposed to get their first jabs this morning at the marae, but were contacted yesterday by the Covid helpline to say their appointments had been cancelled.
Ardern is set to get her first jab at the marae this afternoon. The NZ Herald understands vaccination queues are light this morning at the marae, which often did in excess of 400 vaccinations per day.
A Northern Region Health Coordination Centre spokesperson said the cancellations were due to a capacity issue, not related to the Prime Minister's vaccination.
"The NRHCC has been amending appointments for the Manurewa Marae Vaccination Centre for about a week now as the site has been running slightly over capacity.
"Those rebooked have been sent to a new site at Airport Oaks and from next week, we will also rebook some appointments to the new vaccination centre at Takanini."
However, Brice was left frustrated and confused by the ordeal which saw him and his wife offered appointments five weeks from now, before they were contacted this morning and asked if they could make 11am appointments at the Ōtara vaccination centre.
"It's pretty frustrating...it didn't do a lot for me, I've got to say."
Brice's frustration began yesterday morning when he was left a voice and text message about the cancellation. Strangely, he also received an incorrect text which re-confirmed his marae-based appointment.
Talking with helpline staff, Brice was able to confirm that their morning appointments had been cancelled. He was subsequently offered bookings in five weeks' time.
Brice wasn't willing to accept the delay and managed to negotiate appointments in three weeks' time instead.
To his surprise, Brice received another call this morning from a helpline staffer who asked whether they wanted 11am appointments at the Ōtara vaccination centre, which he agreed to.
Despite a very pleasant experience at the Ōtara centre, Brice described the process as "a shambles".
He queried how the vaccine rollout could be continually referred to as a success and ahead of schedule when experiences like his were occurring.
Brice said he had heard from people with similar stories to his, with friends also being told their appointments at the marae this morning had been cancelled.
On Wednesday, the Herald published reports from multiple Aucklanders who had had poor experiences with the booking system, with stories of vaccination centres being booked until August, records being lost and eight-week waits for a second jab.