Bloomfield defends general population vaccine rollout

The Director-General of Health is defending the decision for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the general population while people in Group 3 are still being vaccinated. 

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The Director-General of Health says this has not been done too early, but exactly when authorities said they would. Source: Breakfast

Bookings opened yesterday first for those aged 60 years and older in Group 4 to be vaccinated. In two weeks, those 55 and over can book. 

Group 4 is comprised of about two million people. 

"We’re not opening four too early, we’re opening exactly when we said we would," Dr Ashley Bloomfield told Breakfast.

"This is the point in time when we’ve got a lot more vaccine arriving in the country and when we’re scaling up the vaccination around the country."

He revealed 105,000 Group 4 bookings had been made on opening day yesterday.

Bloomfield's comments come in the face of analysis by RNZ which shows only 12 per cent of those in Group 3 are fully vaccinated. This equates to about 180,000 people. 

There are also 900,000 forward bookings in the system, comprised of many people from Group 3, he disclosed.

Bloomfield also told Breakfast officials wanted to see the number of Māori being vaccinated go up

As of July 27, 98,276 Māori had received their first dose. A total of 65,812 Māori have received their second dose. 

"It's lower than where we would want it to be," Bloomfield said of the average, compared to that of the overall population.

"It's imperative we have high vaccination rates there," he said of the greater risk Covid-19 outbreaks pose to Māori and Pasifika communities.

Bloomfield also revealed more than 16,000 people had booked into Auckland's mass vaccination event, describing it as "fantastic".

It begins tomorrow at the Vodafone Events Centre and runs until Sunday.

There were concerns around numbers for the event earlier this week. 

Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Source: Breakfast