After snap lockdown, New Zealand begins vaccine programme

WION Web Team
Auckland, New ZealandUpdated: Feb 20, 2021, 01:16 PM IST

Coronavirus vaccine programme starts in New Zealand Photograph:(Reuters)

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he country is using Pfizer-BioNtech's vaccine against the deadly coronavirus

A few days after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ended the snap lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand has launched its first COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The country is using Pfizer-BioNtech's vaccine against the deadly coronavirus.

On Saturday, a small group of medical professionals were injected with the approved vaccine in Auckland.

Following this, border staff and so-called Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) workers will initiate a bigger and wider rollout of the vaccine.

"Today, we kick off the largest immunisation programme in our history, by vaccinating the first of our border workforce, a critical step in protecting everyone in Aotearoa," said New Zealand health minister Ashley Bloomfield. 

"We will be moving through these first few days and weeks in a measured way to make sure our systems and processes are solid."

While the cases and deaths due to coronavirus have been less in New Zealand, as compared to the rest of the world, the authorities are still urging people to exercise caution and make sure they self-isolate themselves in cases of possible infection.

"It's the start of what we might call a new chapter but we still have a long way to go," Bloomfield said.

The vaccination programme will first concentrate on medical professionals, aged and vulnerable individuals.