Surge in demand as 5 to 11-year-old vaccine rollout begins

Source: 1News

Kiwi kids have been lining up around New Zealand to receive Covid-19 vaccines on the first day of eligibility for a younger age group.

Five to 11-year-old's are now eligible for the paediatric Covid-19 vaccination. On Monday, kids and parents visited over 500 centres nationwide, eager to get the jab before the start of the school year.

At the Papakura Marae vaccination centre, CEO Tony Kake said they had to change up their vaccine processes to accommodate the new age group.

“We wanted to create an environment where children feel comfortable... A lot of laughter and a lot of assurance. Tamariki can sit on the laps of their parents if they want to, they can hold hands.

“We’re guided by the parents; they know the child the best... The main thing is vaccinating the kids in the best, most comfortable, informed way we can.”

And it was a successful day, with the marae vaccinating over 100 tamariki, on top of nearly 112 adults.

A couple of those who got vaccinated were eight-year-old Maile and 11-year-old Lani, who although slightly nervous about the needle, were looking forward to getting their vaccine.

“I want to protect my friends and family from Covid-19,” said Lani, a sentiment echoed by younger sister Maile.

“I want to protect myself and others.”

Their mother Tammi said the girls’ vaccination was a whānau decision.

“I’m really proud of the girls.

“It’s really important, and the kids know how important it is for their wider whānau as well as themselves.

“The priority for the kids is getting back to school, feeling safe and hanging out with their mates and this is a step towards that.”

Parents were relying on drive-thru clinics with vaccination spots mostly taken. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said website traffic has more than quadrupled.

“The traffic on the website has been good, today 66,000 people have made a booking, in days prior it's been more like 12,000.”

Officials are hoping there will be a bigger uptake in the paediatric rollout as more clinics get approval and vaccinations arrive in the country.

"If we are getting a lot of children, and a lot of children are getting their first dose, we are going to be well protected,” said paediatrician Jin Russel.