NZ covid-19 mass vaccination event starts in Auckland – long delays

Vodafone Events Centre vaccination booths
Ready to roll ... the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau geared up with 242 booths for the mass vaccination this weekend. Image: RNZ

RNZ News

New Zealand’s first mass vaccination event is getting under way in Manukau where 16,000 people are due to receive a covid-19 vaccine in the next three days.

The Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau has been set up with 242 booths, and people will file in at their allotted time to take a seat and wait for a vaccinator to come to them.

Just 12 vaccinators will inject roughly one person each a minute.

They can work quickly because other people are doing the logistics and health checks.

After a rocky start, with a slow uptake of bookings initially, the event is now fully booked and organisers say they will not be able to take any walk-ins.

Earlier in the week, Manukau City Councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins’ had criticised communication by health authorities with the target people after less than a quarter of those initially sent invitations for the event booked a slot.

He called the communications plan to reach Māori, Pacific and vulnerable communities an “absolute failure”.

Surge of late bookings
RNZ had reported that initially about 12,500 people were sent invitations, with people urged to get their whānau to book too.

However, only 3000 of those booked a place. A surge of bookings late in the week turned this situation around.

Auckland District Health Board (DHB) says the event is on an international model, designed to get large groups of people vaccinated efficiently and safely in a short period of time at a single venue.

“People coming for the vaccine will come into the arena, queue up and then be directed to a seat in a booth.

“Once seated, all of the services will be delivered there. This minimises movement and disruption and allows for a higher throughput of people. We will have 12 vaccinators operating each day of the event.

“A vaccinator will come with a trolley and administer the vaccine then people will be required to wait in the booth for observation for 20 minutes.”

There will be a team of medically trained observers assigned to a row who will monitor people and provide assistance if needed.

Once the 20-minute observation period is up people will be taken by shuttle back to the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) campus.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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