Ardern sets Covid-19 target of 90% fully vaccinated to ease restrictions

Source: 1News

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has set out the "milestones" for easing New Zealand out of the current Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions.

Ardern set a target of 90% of eligible people being fully vaccinated in all DHB areas. That would then allow the new traffic light system to come into play in place of the current Alert Level restrictions.

The Prime Minister said today: "Where we used to say stay home to save lives, we now need to be vaccinated to save lives."

She conceded the Government had been hesitant to set a target but now accepted people wanted certainty.

Ardern said Auckland will come out of lockdown and go to the new "red" setting when all three DHBs in the region hit 90% of people aged over 12 being double-dose vaccinated.

At the end of Wednesday, 72% of eligible people in Aotearoa had had a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 57% had been double-dosed. In today's latest numbers from the Ministry of Health in Auckland, 89% have had one jab and 74% are fully vaccinated.

On current rates, it would take Auckland about three weeks to get to 90%.

Ardern said: "Modelling shows having 90% of eligible people fully vaccinated provides a high level of coverage, keeping most New Zealanders safe and helping slow and control outbreaks, assisting public health authorities to do their job."

Pressure had been building for a target to be set to allow for a way out of the lockdown which has now been in place in the Auckland region for more than 10 weeks.

Northland and parts of Waikato have also been in Level 3 or 4 restrictions for some of that time. The rest of the country remains in Level 2.

National this week set out its proposed target of 85-90% double-dose vaccination, or December 1 whichever comes first, for ending lockdown.