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Ed Sheeran

South Auckland first in line for vaccinations
Photo: Ministry of Health.

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The Prime Minister says it makes absolute sense to start the general COVID vaccination programme in South Auckland.

Jacinda Ardern laid out the strategy at yesterday’s briefing on the latest community cases which triggered Auckland moving back into a level 3 lockdown for seven days and the rest of the country to go to level 2.

The wider vaccination programme is due to start mid-year, and there have been calls from Māori and Pacific health providers for the region to be given priority.

She says that was always the plan because the population there was considered a higher risk for multiple reasons.

Seventy-five per cent of those who have already received a vaccine have been from South Auckland, and the border workforce is predominantly from Counties Manukau.

There was one further case yesterday linked to the Auckland February cluster.

The person is a household contact of four previous cases and has been in the Auckland quarantine facility since Tuesday, which means they have been in quarantine for their infectious period and there is no risk from them of community spread.

Health authorities are seeking contacts of two people confirmed with COVID-19 on Saturday, a 21-year-old student at Manukau Institute of technology and their mother.

About 20 close contacts have been identified from MIT’s Manukau campus.

Ms Ardern said it is "more than likely" some cases may emerge in the coming days, but wastewater testing in Auckland continues to suggest there isn't a wider outbreak.

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