To add to today’s celebrations of Auckland’s border lifting and whānau reuniting after four months apart, the city’s biggest DHB has hit 90 per cent double dose vaccinations.

Counties Manukau, which has the second biggest eligible Māori population for a DHB and the biggest eligible Pacific population in Aotearoa, has joined Auckland and Waitematā DHBs in reaching the milestone.

Counties Manukau DHB chief executive Margie Apa says it’s an enormous feat.

“Our DHB is home to the most diverse communities in New Zealand and we want to thank everyone for coming together to support and protect each other. 

“This tremendous result is testament to the uniquely Counties approach that has seen DHB health teams supported by our regional colleagues, Māori and Pacific health provider partners and community NGOs work collaboratively especially over the last few months to seek out the harder-to-reach pockets in the community.

“This is the result of teams of teams working together through mass vaccination events, GPs and pharmacies, countless pop-up clinics, neighbourhood outreach that includes door-to-door campaigns to bring the vaccine to as many people as possible.

“Let us all – our provider partners, staff, volunteers, church leaders and community organisers included – take a moment to reflect on the magnitude of this milestone today.  I cannot recall any other population health campaign that has reached this kind of scale – thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who played a part in reaching this target.”

NRHCC vaccination programme director, Matt Hannant, echoed those sentiments.

“I’m thrilled that all three DHBs are in such a strong position going into the summer holidays. This will help families gathering together at Christmas to protect each other, as well as other regions of New Zealand for those who are travelling to reunite with their loved ones.

“We do however still have work ahead of us. While its great to see the city reach double dose, our job isn’t done until we achieve better than 90 per cent for Māori, Pacific and communities that are vulnerable to the poor outcomes of COVID-19.”