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Mass Covid-19 vaccination event expected for Stewart Island/Rakiura in August - PM

A vaccination station is expected to be set up on Stewart Island/Rakiura around August, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today as mass testing continues on Rakiura after a child returned a weak-positive Covid-19 test. 

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The island has suffered a scare after a child recorded a weak positive test for coronavirus. Source: 1 NEWS

"Here we have a case that had a positive test but then on re-testing has been negative," Ardern said today from Fieldays. 

"Early hypothesis is that it's a false positive but just to be extra cautious we're sending teams in there to do testing on the ground."

The Ministry of Health said household contacts had returned negative tests, while the child's test was positive for a rhinovirus which causes common colds. 

Ninety-three swabs were collected on Stewart Island/Rakiura yesterday, with the result of those swabs first available from this afternoon. 

On the vaccine rollout, Ardern said she understood a mass testing event would be held in August on the island. 

Locals currently eligible for the vaccine have to travel across to the mainland to get their jabs.  

"We certainly will not expect those on Stewart Island to travel to the mainland," Ardern said. 

"We will be sending in teams, and as we intend to for some of the other islands that we need to service ... making sure we vaccinate the whole community at once. My understanding is that will be taking place in August."

The Government revealed yesterday the general Covid-19 vaccine rollout would be split up into age cohorts, but mass vaccination events would be held in some areas not based on age. 

These would be for some people in rural or isolated areas, those at high risk or with equity issues, and some large workplaces such as Fonterra and Mainfreight would hold events for "harder to reach" workforces. 

Resident Sharon Ross told 1 NEWS the travel cost for people on Stewart Island/Rakiura to get vaccinated would be prohibitive to many. 

"At the moment if we had to be vaccinated, we have to travel to Invercargill. That would be a cost, if my husband and I were both to go, we would be looking at over $500 and two lots of flights and your travel to and from the medical centre.

"That cost is prohibitive to a lot of people. We have a third of the island over 65, they're in that vulnerable age group.

"For a lot of them I'm sure, that kind of travel cost, the expense and the drama getting over there, is something that would factor into it."