Frustration over delays at mass vaccination event

People line up for their jabs at the Manukau venue in Auckland. Photo / Michael Craig
People line up for their jabs at the Manukau venue in Auckland. Photo / Michael Craig
New Zealand's first mass vaccination event is under way in Auckland where 16,000 people are due to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the next three days.

But after barely two hours this morning problems already appeared to be emerging over lengthy wait times.

South Aucklanders are set to receive their first vaccination shot over the weekend, with the event at the Vodafone Event Centre in Manukau starting this morning.

Talkback caller Ralph who turned up 10 minutes before his 10am appointment told Newstalk ZB he was still waiting more than an hour later.

He had since given up and left, unable to take off work the anticipated two to three hours he now faced for getting a jab.

"What's happened is it's slowed down like a train than coming off the rails," said Ralph.

"I had to leave. I can't afford to take half a day off."

He said large numbers of people were milling around and he suspected it was going to get worse.

Northern Region Health Co-ordination Centre vaccination programme director Matt Hannant said "a number of people" had arrived early at MIT which led to a queue for those registering before being transported by bus to the vaccination site.

He said more registration staff had been brought in to deal with the demand.

"While we are very pleased that people are eager to attend, we do encourage anyone attending to arrive at the time of their appointment so they can register quickly and help us to manage flow," he said.

"We have a number of contingency plans in place, including additional staff on site that can be deployed as needed to help manage any queues."

Acting Covid-19 response minister Dr Ayesha Verrall deemed today's mass vaccination event the "Olympics of vaccination" and was confident health staff would claim gold.

"We'll learn from this event and that will influence how we use similar mass vaccination events across the programme."

She confirmed workplace vaccinations would begin in the coming weeks with employers including Fonterra and Mainfreight, which were signalled as early participants of the vaccination programme when the general public rollout plan was revealed.

MIT academic centre staffer Bruce Whitfield said the process was a little slow to begin with but became smoother once in the chair.

"Everybody's very friendly and helpful."

He said all of his colleagues would be attending the mass vaccination event today.

About 3000 of the roughly 16,500 people booked to get the jab over the next three days were MIT students and staff.

Asked whether communication with the community had been sufficient leading up to the event, Verrall pointed to the fact the event was fully booked out as an indicator of how well the community was consulted.

 

Comments

Why the push to be "vaccinated" for one virus, why wasn't there a push to get people vaccinated for aids, zika, swine flu viruses......

There are no vaccines for HIV/AIDS or Zika. Swine flu has a vaccine, has for a while, it's in the annual flu jab.
Why the push? Uummm global pandemic of covid19, the sooner we have full vaccination the sooner we have herd immunity the sooner we can open our borders.
Science. Pay attention, all of this has been dealt with.

I notice that the Monday 1 August Covid19 announcement stated that they are on target to hit the 16000 vaccination target when the event ends at 8pm tonight.
Seems like basing your prediction of failure and mayhem on the basis of one disgruntled caller to radio talkback might not be such a sound strategy.

I look forward to the ODT reporting the success of the event and the retraction and apology for basing your predictions on such unreliable sources.

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