Super Saturday saw 3,056 Covid-19 vaccinations being administered in the Lakes District Health Board region, with “a huge number” of people getting their first dose.
The Ministry of Health data was accurate as of 9.36pm on Saturday, however Lakes DHB says the figure could be higher due to manual entries being added to the immunisation register.
The DHB’s programme manager for Covid-19 vaccinations Heather Lang said the day was “a huge success” and offered a “massive thank you” to the community and staff.
“We’ve had a huge number of first doses administered but equally a lot of second doses. We’ve now got a lot more people in our community who are now fully vaccinated, which is fantastic,” Lang said.
Lang said she heard comments on Saturday of people wanting to get double-vaccinated so that they could get the vaccine passport and “get out and enjoy summer”.
Ministry of Health chief nurse Lorraine Hetaraka. Photo / Andrew Warner
Ministry of Health chief nursing officer Lorraine Hetaraka said providers coming together and creating a positive environment led to “many people” getting their first vaccination.
Kristyl Eru was one such person. She initially had no plans to get vaccinated and went to Fordlands Community Centre to help put together food parcels for those being vaccinated there.
“I’d been debating it for a long, long time … being among the vibe here I made a quick decision. I went home and put on a T-shirt and came back to get vaccinated.”
She said the fact that the hub was in her community was part of the reason she chose today to get her first dose.
And she wasn’t the only one.
Janine Kippax also had no plans to get vaccinated but having the option to get the dose in her own community pushed her across the line.
“I wasn’t going to get it done but it’s only because it’s here. Otherwise, I would have kept waiting. I don’t know what I was waiting for.”
Kippax said one reason behind her decision was her young daughter.
“Do what’s right for you and your family. I’m doing what’s right for me and her.”
Staff at the Covid-19 Rotorua Immunisation Hub at Central Mall Ronda Ogle (left), site manager Heather Lang, Para Matenga, Karla Mettrick. Photo / Andrew Warner.
The community centre was giving hangi and food parcels containing bread, fruit, milk, teabags, crackers and masks to people who got vaccinated. Krissie Knap was performing and about 30 vaccines were administered at the hub within an hour of opening.
Nancy Littler, who is on the Fordlands Community Centre committee, said the centre would be opening for second doses on November 27.
“The reason we wanted to have it here was to bring it to the community and make it easy for them.”
Lakes District Health Board pou manukura, relationship engagement, Phyllis Tangitu said while the Māori vaccination rate was progressing well nationally, in Rotorua it was at 36 per cent.
“We’ve got to do things differently and go into the heart of the communities and take the service to the people. I’ve spoken to people who said ‘I heard the music, I heard Auntie Krissie – we had to come down and get the vaccine.'”
Meanwhile, 212 vaccines were administered within two hours of opening at the main Covid-19 Rotorua Immunisation Hub at Central Mall. Vaccinators at the Taupō hub had administered 206.
Edward Young was at the main vaccination hub in Rotorua with his children Indie Young, 12, and Madsen Elkington, 14. Photo / Zizi Sparks
Edward Young was at the main vaccination hub in Rotorua with his children Indie Young, 12, and Madsen Elkington, 14. They were getting their second dose after bringing their original appointments forward.
Young said they moved their appointments for the “community spirit”.
“It’s the right thing to do for our family, friends and the community.
“It’s easy. You walk in and you’re out within 20 minutes. People are positive and there’s lots of community spirit, with different businesses supporting.
“We hope today is successful in terms of numbers.”
Elize Smith, 12, was also at the main Covid-19 immunisation hub in Rotorua with her mum to get her first dose.
“My grandma has been pestering me to get it to be safer. I’ve wanted it for a while because I want to be able to not wear a mask.”
She said the process was smooth and she was happy to take home a Warehouse voucher and a free hot chocolate.
Her message to others was simple: “Get it.”
Labour MP Tamati Coffey at the Te Arawa drive-through vaccination centre. Photo / Andrew Warner.
Bay of Plenty-based Labour MP Tamati Coffey delayed his second dose by a week to support Super Saturday. He went to the Te Arawa drive-through hub in Rotorua to be vaccinated at midday.
“I did want to make it significant. I was due for my last one last week but I saved it for Super Saturday to join the rest of the country and contribute to the big goal of 100,000 vaccines across New Zealand. I wanted to be part of that.”
Nearly 130,000 doses were administered nationally on Saturday, breaking records for the number of jabs in a day. The previous single-day vaccination record was 90,757 on August 26.
University of Waikato professor of public health Ross Lawrenson said the organisation of the DHBs, the commitment of staff and the community turning up to get vaccinated contributed to record-breaking numbers, as well as having giveaways like sausage sizzles and hāngi.
Super Saturday was “a fantastic effort from the team of five million” and had given “a whole boost” to the vaccination programme, he said.
In a media statement on Saturday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Super Saturday had “exceed expectations” and had ensured New Zealand was more protected from Covid-19.
“The team of five million have turned out in record numbers to protect whānau and loved ones.
“Just as we stayed home last year to save lives, now we are getting vaccinated to protect the team of five million.”