Hipkins hints South Aucklanders will get vaccine first

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins during an update at Parliament in Wellington earlier this month. Photo: NZ Herald
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins during an update at Parliament in Wellington earlier this month. Photo: NZ Herald
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is suggesting the people of South Auckland will be prioritised when it comes to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

This is a sentiment that has been welcomed by National leader Judith Collins, who this morning said South Auckland "needs to be a priority".

Speaking to Q&A this morning, Hipkins said South Auckland was clearly more at risk of Covid-19 and this would be "reflected" in the Government's vaccine rollout plan.

He said after frontline Covid-19 workers had been vaccinated, the Government would be rolling it out to "those who are more at risk within the community".

That would be people with health conditions and the elderly, he said.

He also said the Government was looking into places that had more risks.

"Clearly, South Auckland is located by the big airport where most of the people are coming into the country from.

"Clearly, that [South Auckland] is a setting that probably is a bit more at risk. I think you will see that reflected in the vaccine rollout plan".

Graphic: NZ Herald
Graphic: NZ Herald
He doubled down when speaking to the Nation.

But he said the main issue was the supply of vaccines – there would likely be "high demand" and at this stage, the Government did not have the stock on hand.

The South Auckland focus came as welcome news to Collins, who told Q&A it was "absolutely essential" the people of South Auckland are vaccinated first.

"I think it has to happen," she said.

She said there was a lot of high-density housing in South Auckland and many people in the area work at border facilities and rest homes.

"We need to be realistic here, we need to say South Auckland does need something does need something and that something special happens to be vaccinations."

Those vaccinations needed to happen in South Auckland before the rest of the country, she said.

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