More than 75,000 eligible people are overdue for their second vaccine, the Ministry of Health says.
Nine in every 500 New Zealanders eligible for the Covid-19 jab are overdue for their second dose, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
A total of 75,585 people – or 1.8 per cent of the eligible population, are still yet to get their second dose more than six weeks after their first, based on data to November 21. Thirty-seven per cent of them had their first vaccine more than 10 weeks ago.
The lion’s share – 43 per cent – were first vaccinated seven or eight weeks ago, and the remaining 20 per cent nine or 10 weeks ago.
The numbers come as the Director-General of Health announced on Wednesday 10 out of 15 deaths in the Delta outbreak were unvaccinated, and two were partially vaccinated.
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Immunologists have pointed out how important it is for people to return for their second dose, as the first primes the immune system, and the second boosts it – which means the antibody levels shoot up.
Some people may not be accessing their second dose for medical or health reasons, or have difficulty accessing a vaccine clinic, the ministry’s group manager for Covid vaccine operations, Astrid Koornneef, said.
“We are actively following up with all people whose first dose was more than three weeks ago, while also strengthening our focus on helping them get vaccinated.”
The tally could include people who had since left New Zealand, or who had their first dose overseas and returned to New Zealand “before we were able to record this dose”, Koornneef said.
Work was going on with DHBs and healthcare providers to make sure people followed through with a second dose, including providing quality information, advice, resources and support for those who still may have questions, and tailoring services to reach remote areas and make the jab accessible, she said.
In some instances, through the Healthline service, they had helped the DHBs contact people in their communities about their vaccinations, Koornneef said.
“This is part of our outreach work to ensure there are no barriers for them to be able to access the vaccine, and to offer further help and support if they would like to make a booking or find out more about how to get a vaccination.”
One in 10 overdue are in Greater Wellington
About 10 per cent of the overdue people are in Wellington (6.3 per cent), Hutt Valley (3 per cent) and Wairarapa (1 per cent).
Wellington’s Capital & Coast District Health Board (CCDHB) is on track to be the second DHB to hit the 90 per cent vaccine milestone, but has 4778 overdue people, 44 per cent of who are more than 10 weeks overdue.
For the Hutt Valley DHB, 2245 people had their first jab more than six weeks ago – 43 per cent more than 10 weeks ago.
In Wairarapa, 661 people are late for their second jab, with 39 per cent of them first vaccinated more than 10 weeks ago.
Vaccine rates edge up in Wellington’s poorer suburbs
Rates are beginning to lift in Porirua and Hutt Valley suburbs that have high deprivation, latest data shows.
In Wainuiomata West in the Hutt Valley, 90 per cent have now had their first vaccine, with Wainuiomata central just behind at 89 per cent. Double-doses on both sides of the town sit at 81 per cent.
Cannons Creek and Waitangirua lingered in the mid-60s for fully vaccinated residents when a case was confirmed in Wellington last week, but rates now sit between 67 per cent and 71 per cent for double doses. Between 82 per cent and 83 per cent of people have had one dose.
In Porirua East, 73 per cent of residents were now fully vaccinated, and 85 per cent have had one dose.