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DHB first to 90 per cent milestone

A Masterton pop-up vaccination clinic. PHOTO/FILE

Wairarapa is the first rural DHB in New Zealand to reach a key covid vaccination milestone with 90 per cent of those eligible having had their first vaccine and 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

The figures come as the Ministry of Health reported no new covid cases for the second day in a row. Two cases in Masterton were reported earlier this week, with both understood to be isolating. No new locations of interest were added to the six already notified.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty said the vaccine watershed was worthy of celebration in a week when the region had heard about its first virus cases since last year.

While the Southern and MidCentral DHBs had also reached 90 per cent, they both included cities. Wairarapa was predominantly rural.

“It is a testament to the hard work of our health professionals and the community,” McAnulty said.

“They have worked hard over a long period to get to this point. The Wairarapa community has once again collectively stepped up. We should be proud of this,” he said.

“We know vaccination is the best defence against covid. It is also the best way to collectively protect those that can’t get vaccinations.”

That group included children under the age of 12 and those with certain medical conditions.

“This is as much about protecting children and the vulnerable as it is about us as individuals.”

He said there was still work to do, with many remaining unvaccinated or needing second doses.

South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen agreed.

“It’s excellent work and moving in the right direction. We do need to see second dose numbers getting higher and aim for 95 per cent as our next target. Even at 90 per cent, the ability of our hospitals to cope is limited, so it’s an urgent matter.”

Carterton mayor Greg Lang said the achievement would help everyone.

“It does not end our struggle against covid, but it does help us reduce the virus’ reach. It is a significant enabler towards returning to everyday normality and prosperity.

“I understand the challenges some of us have had. I encourage those yet to be vaccinated to consider doing so for the benefit of the wider community.”

Masterton mayor Lyn Paterson said it was a good milestone but not the final destination.

“We need everyone who has had a first vaccination to get a second jab – and we also need people who haven’t yet had a vaccination to start the process,” she said.

“Time is running out fast for people to be fully vaccinated in time for Christmas and the New Year if they haven’t had their first vaccination.

“The government has been very clear that under the traffic light system, non-vaccinated people will face restrictions.

“That is likely to mean not being able to attend festivals and other events over the festive season.

“The message is simple – if you are able to get a vaccination, get one now.”

  • More information about free vaccinations is at http://www.wairarapa.dhb.org.nz/news-and-publications/covid-19/covid-vaccination/ no bookings are needed.

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