Kiwis have smashed the government's 'Super Saturday' goal of 100,000 vaccine doses today - and Auckland should hit the 90 per cent first-dose target in the next five days.
Following the 100,000 dose milestone, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set an ambitious and unlikely new goal of hitting 150,000 doses by 8pm that ultimately fell short. As of 9:09pm, 129,927 jabs had been administered across New Zealand - by far the most in a single day. About 38,000 of those were first doses.
"The team of 5 million have turned out in record numbers to protect whānau and loved ones. Super Saturday has exceeded expectations and has ensured as a country we are more protected from Covid-19," Ardern said.
"Keeping up this momentum over the coming weeks means we could become among the most vaccinated countries in the world, ensuring we are protected from the virus and can get back to the things we love."
Auckland needed about 29,000 first-dose vaccines today to hit the 90 per cent first-dose target - and at 6pm was sitting at around 8500. Officials believe the region will hit the 90 per cent target in the next five days.
Yesterday, just over 69,000 jabs were administered, taking New Zealand's vaccination rate to 83.8 per cent - 63.1 per cent with both doses and 20.7 per cent with one dose.
Vaccine clinics are opening across the country today as health workers target a 90 per cent vaccination milestone in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield have been going around the Wellington region, as they join the drive to get people vaccinated. And Kiwi A-list stars including Lorde and Taika Waititi have beamed in from the US to join today's Vaxathon.
In Auckland, 300 pre-booked people will have their vaccination on board an Air New Zealand Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet, in business class. In Gisborne, four clinics are offering live music, cheeseburgers and tickets to Rhythm and Vines. In this country's most vaccinated region, Dunedin, there is music and food at the Octagon.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER BLOG
Your guide to vaccination across NZ
New Zealand's day of vaccination - Super Saturday - is upon us and is expected to be a record-breaking effort in the country's battle with Covid-19.
With 136 community cases in the past two days, the emphasis has been placed on boosting vaccination levels nationwide to ensure Kiwis are at least partially protected from the virus.
Currently, 83 per cent of Kiwis have had their first jab, while 62 per cent are fully vaccinated. A full vaccination level of above 90 per cent across populations has been long touted as the point at which New Zealand can start reconnecting with the world.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set her sights on 100,000 vaccinations across Saturday, which would be the rollout's largest daily vaccination total ever.
To achieve that goal, more than 550 vaccination sites will be open across the country with many working extended hours to give people ample opportunity to get their jabs.
An eight-hour Vaxathon (vaccination telethon) will broadcast from 12pm to 8pm on THREE, Māori TV, TV2, nzherald.co.nz and Discovery, as well as other Māori platforms like Hahana, JGeeks, Re: News, Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and Waatea News.
Instead of donations, the aim of the Vaxathon is to raise national vaccination levels which will be updated regularly throughout the broadcast, informing viewers where vaccination rates are rising the fastest.
Celebrities, influencers, politicians and health professionals will be live on set at Avalon Studios in Wellington, as well as at vaccination centres across the country including in Kaitaia, Ōtara, Manurewa, Rotorua, Porirua, Ōtautahi (Christchurch) and Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).
The Vaxathon headlines the hundreds of different initiatives from the likes of health providers, businesses and community groups, encouraging and enabling people to get vaccinated.
Ministry of Health Covid-19 vaccination programme equity manager Tāmati Shepherd-Wipiiti said more than $500,000 of prizes had been donated along with $300,000 in funding - not including the community-led donations which would see the overall total breach $1 million.
Shepherd-Wipiiti, also in charge of the vaxathon, said it had been an incredible effort to organise the eight-hour broadcast in just 10 days when previous telethons often took months to coordinate.
"The Ministry of Health has just performed out of its skin to do this, but we've had help from everywhere."
Given his duty to ensure the rollout was equitable, Shepherd-Wipiiti said alterations in approach and funding structures had been implemented to make the vaccine accessible to all communities.
"We've made a big pivot in the last couple of weeks, we've not got the vaccine at the centre, we've got the whānau at the centre now.
"Some of these communities, these nurses are telling me they're going back three or four times to have this discussion ... there'll be more of that tomorrow and it will continue."
To find a vaccination centre near you, visit the Unite Against Covid-19 Super Saturday webpage.
Here are some highlights from around the country:
About 13 per cent of Aucklanders are yet to have their first dose as the city is gripped by a Delta outbreak which appears to be growing larger every day.
In response, the majority of the 16 community vaccination and drive-through centres will be operating for extended hours, while offering great incentives to attract people.
Among them is the CBD vaccination centre at 35 Graham St, which is being donned with rainbow decorations in addition to live music, a sausage sizzle and spot prizes.
Site mana whenua lead Tui Blair, Ngāti Whātua, said she was looking forward to putting a jovial spin on vaccination, together with some healthy competition between vaccination centres.
"It'll be about competing against each site to see who can get the most [vaccinations], to see who can have the craziest day, the most fun day," she said with a laugh.
"[Super Saturday] is about increasing those numbers so we can get back to some normality in our own lives with our whānau, with our friends and being able to return to mahi."
Blair, also the lead of the Epsom and Mt Wellington centres, said staff had worked hard to create a welcoming atmosphere for people anxious about their vaccination.
"We try to create the environment like it's your second home. Just think you're coming into a marae or walking into your own home, because that's the atmosphere we want to create."
Blair said it was now the task of the vaccinated to reassure those yet to get the vaccine of its safety.
"It's talking about the real ... Talking about the experiences they've had within the vax centres and how they felt after having it as well, because I think that's a lot of the fear that might come in with people."
At the Albany site, there will be free coffee, a Mr Whippy truck visit, spot prizes and chocolate fish handed out to those who receive their dose.
More than 70 general practices and more than a dozen pharmacies involved in the vaccine roll-out are also opening their doors especially for the day.
Among them is Mairangi Medical Centre, whose staff are dressing up to a "Save Our Summer" theme and Papatoetoe Family Doctors, whose staff are handing out free hot chickens alongside every vaccine dose.
Air New Zealand has also transformed one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets into a vaccine clinic, offering the opportunity for 300 people to get vaccinated in business class.
Vaccination buses and vans will be out in force, primarily in South Auckland and North Shore, providing vaccination with a mix of music, sausage sizzle, kai packs and spot prizes.
These efforts will combine with that of scores of health providers and community groups which are enticing their locals to get the jab.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff said Super Saturday was about ensuring there would be pay-off for the sacrifices Aucklanders had made during the outbreak.
"Now we need a big push to get as many people as possible vaccinated, so we can all look forward to a fantastic summer of festivals, concerts and good times with friends and whānau," he said.
Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina agreed: "A high vaccination rate is a critical part of the plan to keep our people safe and to reduce restrictions on business, activities and events in time for summer."
Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre programme director Matt Hannant urged anyone yet to get their first dose to come along, as well as those who had waited at least three weeks after their first jab.
"It's eight weeks to go until summer, so we're encouraging everyone to get their vaccinations this weekend to help ensure you're set to get out and about and enjoy the summer.
"Come on down, grab a sausage or a coffee, and bring along any whānau with you too."
For a complete list of vaccination centres, click here.
Bay of Plenty
Mr Whippy Tauranga North owner Catherine Campbell can't wait for Super Saturday at Mount Main Beach, with a free ice cream for everyone who gets their shot.
"Hopefully we can use all the jabs up. Get a jab, get ice cream. Let's do it."
Other Super Saturday events will also include community barbecues in Katikati and Ōpōtiki.
In Whakatāne, ice cream business The Berry Boys is also helping out.
"Ice cream is always good on a hot day - and a free one's even better," owner Scott Muncaster said.
Covid-19 put a stop to Muncaster's Alaskan honeymoon plans and he doesn't want the virus to get in the way of more travel adventures.
"I can't wait for the world to open up. The way I look at it, Covid has affected our ice cream business as we can't go to the festivals that we usually would. It might not balance things out but it helps out. I'm not a doctor, but I think it's a pretty good idea to get vaccinated."
Muncaster said getting the vaccine "can't get any easier" than turning up this weekend.
"This is your opportunity. It doesn't get better than free ice cream and free burgers."
Whakatāne will also have free hāngī, barbecue, burgers and entertainment at various vaccination sites.
For more information, click here.
Te Arawa Covid Response hub kaumātua Monty Morrison said the people he had spoken to about Super Saturday were "pretty excited".
"We know that there's a need and certainly we in Te Arawa are wanting to be a part of the solution. We're looking forward to a bumper day."
Morrison said the Te Arawa vaccination hub drive-through vaccination centre on Clayton Rd would not only be open from noon to 6pm on Saturday but would also be open on Sunday and Monday as well.
There will be no bookings necessary at the Te Arawa vaccination centre. There will also be a free hāngī and a free bottle of flavoured milk for anyone who gets the jab on Saturday.
Ranolf Medical Centre GP Dr Joanna O'Keefe said there would be bottles of water and lollies as well as other "bits and pieces" waiting for patients on Saturday.
"We're pretty keen to be a part of it. It'll be really cool. We're excited to give people another place they can go to for their vaccine."
Sunrise Rotary Club volunteers will be waiting in the car parks at New World West End and Pak'n'Save with shuttles for anyone having trouble commuting to their vaccine.
For more information, click here.
Free transport and sausages are among the incentives to get people to get a jab.
Local leaders will be out in force all across the community.
Mayor Hamish McDouall said Super Saturday was a great idea, adding everyone loves the idea of a tele-thon.
"I really encourage everyone. If you haven't had your jab, go and get your first one. It's not really a decision about you should get it or not, it is about if you can contribute to keeping everyone else safe."
Whanganui District Council Chief executive Kym Fell says he would love to see the district lead the country in getting vaccinated against Covid-19 during Super Saturday.
"If we want to see life in our district and our country return to normal this summer, getting vaccinated is the best way to make that happen.
"The more of us who are fully vaccinated the more protection we will all have. It is vitally important for our health system and each other that we get this job done."
For more information, click here.
Wellington's Sky Stadium is operating a drive-through service from 9 to 4, offering a free lunch to everyone who gets the jab. It's also open until 5pm on Friday, and will reopen on Sunday.
A pop-up at Newtown School, operating from 10am to 4pm is offering free petrol vouchers to people who get vaccinated on the day, as well as activities, music and a halal sausage sizzle.
At the Karori Mall Vaccination hub, from 9am to 6pm, there will be giveaways with 4 draws of $200 vouchers.
The Kāpiti Community vaccination event in Paraparaumu, operating from 9am to 4pm, promises a Mr Whippy van as well as foodtrucks and a DJ.
The Hutt Valley's own vaccination bus, the "Delta Buster", will be blessed at Common Unity in Fairfield at 9am, before opening for vaccinations at 10.
Kokiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust health and social services manager Teresea Olsen, who has been leading the kaupapa, said there were still around 700 to 800 people unvaccinated in the area.
"If Delta spread like it did overseas, the most vulnerable are my people, Māori, and Pacific, and that's the reason why I'm doing this. I want our people to survive.
"I believe that each of us individually owe it to our families to be immunised and owe it to our mokopuna."
Also in Lower Hutt, the Community Vaccination Centre on High St is vaccinating from 9.30am to 4.30pm, offering everyone to spin the wheel for a chance at a prize.
The CoCo Community Pop-up in Naenae will also be open for vaccinations between 10am and 3pm, offering grocery vouchers and the chance to win an iPhone.
Porirua's 'Do it for the East' event, located at the Cannon's Creek Cage, is focusing on Pacific youth.
Offering free gaming, barber cuts, food and craft stalls, the festival runs from 9am to 5pm.
Young resident Brenda Leasi, who is on the event's organising committee, said young people were over-represented in the unvaccinated numbers.
"With the stats that came out for the groups that are low in vaccination, it's predominantly our age group – the 12 to 39s," Leasi said.
Also in Porirua, the Takapuwahia Marae will offer hāngī and rongoa giveaways from 10am to 4pm.
In Upper Hutt, sausage sizzles and spot prizes are on offer for the newly vaccinated at the Heretaunga Christian Centre on 51 Lane St from 10am to 5pm.
And at Wirinaki Whare Taonga Vaccination Centre on Fergusson Drive, they're offering $2 coffees and free family passes to the Aquatic centre.
For more information, click here.
Donuts, bacon butties, hangi and free KFC are just some of the treats being handed out to those getting their Covid-19 vaccination in Hawke's Bay.
Community group Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui a Orotu are holding a drive-through vaccine clinic at Napier's Pak'nSave.
The clinic and other vaccine centres are offering special giveaways to encourage people, primarily rangatahi, with treats also offered to dogs who accompany their owners after a high turnout from four-legged friends at previous drive-through clinics.
Hastings District Council is also running a drive-through vaccination clinic with Choices – Kahungunu Health Services at Splash Planet Theme Park, 1001 Grove Rd, Parkvale from 9am to 7pm.
There will be Splash Planet Super Passes, bacon butties, coffee and donuts available free to those who get vaccinated on the day.
For more information, click here.
A bouncy castle and sausage sizzle will be set up at Christchurch's Eastgate Mall between 10am and 4pm. Rollickin Gelato will be there handing out gelato to those who get vaccinated.
Spagalimis Pizzeria on Salisbury St is offering a free six-piece pizza to anyone who has had at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. The offer is available between 11am and 4pm and patrons will need to purchase a pint of beer, glass of wine, or a mocktail.
Catch the Canterbury Rugby players at Christchurch Arena handing out free tickets to their clash against Hawke's Bay. The clinic is open from 9am to 7.30pm with music and free food on site to create a "festival-like" atmosphere.
Canterbury Rugby is giving away a total of 1000 double passes to the game across Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week.
About 320 tickets were handed out on the first day with more than 500 people estimated to have turned up at the clinic.
The Ngā Hau e Whā National Marae vaccination clinic will be open from 9am to 4pm for drop-ins and will have free food on hand from the Fush team.
Pasifika clinicians will be at the Etu Pasifika Vaccination Centre to answer any questions. Free food will also be available. The clinic will be open from 9am to 4pm on Montreal St.
Canterbury's new mobile vaccination clinic, dubbed the "JabberWaka", will be launched in Kaiapoi this weekend. It will be at the Park and Ride site on Charles St from 11am to
In Ashburton, they're gunning to get more than 2000 people vaccinated to reach its 90 per cent target on Saturday. The district has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
For more information, click here.
Vaccine centres are being set up and Māori health providers, medical centres and pharmacies across the city.
Pacific Trust Otago and Te Kāika will be putting on music and kai, while The Octagon Super Saturday will have food trucks, vouchers for vaccinations, live music and street performers, and Anderson's Exchange Pharmacy will have a voucher prize draw and goody bags.
In wider Otago, there will be music and kai at He Puna Waiora at Pacific Island Advisory & Cultural Trust in Invercargill.
In Queenstown, those getting vaccinated at the TSS Earnslaw will be able to get coffee, a free tour and the chance to win a Walter Peak's famous Gourmet BBQ lunch, RealNZ Milford Sound Cruises, Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruises and Jet Boat rides.
- with the Otago Daily Times