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PM’s visit lifts vaccination rates across the district

OFFICIAL figures show 715 people in Tairawhiti received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose between Friday, when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived to promote vacinations, and Sunday.

Ms Ardern opened Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival at Lawson Field Theatre on Friday night and visited a pop-up vaccination bus.

On Saturday she visited a drive-through vaccination centre at Harry Barker Reserve.

The Prime Minister later travelled to Ruatoria to watch the Ngati Porou East Coast men's and women's rugby teams play and to visit a vaccination centre.

Hauora Tairawhiti figures show 60 people received vaccine doses at Lawson Field Theatre, 255 at Harry Barker Reserve on Saturday (and another 319 on Sunday) while 48 people received doses at various sites in Ruatoria

The health board now has a “countdown” target of 12,566 people needing their first dose, down from 13,281 as announced by Hauora Tairawhiti on Friday morning in anticipation of the PM's visit visit.

By the end of Sunday, 50,990 total doses had been given in Tairawhiti, up 2427 from the 48,563 announced on Friday.

That includes 29,399 people, or 70.1 percent, who have had their first dose.

Broken down further, 57.4 percent of Maori have received their first dose, as have 79 percent of Pasfika and 92.7 percent of those aged 65 plus.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by East Coast MP and Conservation Minister Kiri Allan and Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP and Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri.

Ms Allan said it was fantastic to see so many people turning up to the vaccination centres, “especially those who, for whatever reason, had been a bit hesitant about getting a jab”.

“We had a record day for Maori vaccinations last week, but there are some areas where numbers are still low, so I'm challenging everyone who hasn't had their first one yet to get it done this week, or be part of history and turn up on Super Saturday, a nationwide day of vaccine action.”

This Saturday, October 16, has been designated Super Saturday in a nationwide push to encourage people to get their Covid-19 vaccine. A Ministry of Health poster advertising the day says it has never been more urgent to be vaccinated.

“Our country is at one of the trickiest and most challenging moments in the Covid-19 pandemic so far,' Ms Allan said.

“However, we have a clear path forward over the coming months, one where New Zealanders should be able to move to living with fewer restrictions and more freedoms as a result of higher levels of vaccination.”