Vaccine rollouts needed - particularly for South Auckland

By Taroi Black

Busy queue at Whanau Ora Community Clinic - Manukau getting tested today. Photo: Te Ao Māori News 

Auckland mayor Phil Goff wants his city to be prioritised in the vaccine roll-outs after its fourth level 3 lockdown.

He says that to control the risk of community transmission to other parts of the country, “within Auckland, we should prioritise South Auckland and, following that, the rest of the city should be prioritised.”

The lockdown was based on the two cases that included Case M, a student who was attending the Manukau Institute of Technology, who was supposed to be in self-isolation, and his mother, Case N, which has led the mayor to demand an Auckland vaccine rollout.

“As the gateway city to New Zealand, and with 18 quarantine facilities — significantly more than the rest of the country combined — Auckland carries the burden of risk on behalf of the country," he says.

"Protecting Auckland will help ensure that we stop the disease from being transmitted to other parts of the country."

Auckland Council is facing financial losses in the region, and an estimated 200 jobs and $30+ million every day given the restrictions for Alert Level 3.

Goff says if a vaccine roll-out is prioritised in Auckland, particularly South Auckland, then future lockdowns can be avoided while protecting jobs and incomes, given the city has an integral role in supporting the national economic recovery.

The council currently has a consultation document covering its 10-year Budget from 2021 to 2031, which seeks public feedback until March 22.   

On February 18 Goff said Covid-19 had "punched a $450 million hole in council finances, with losses projected to reach $1 billion by 2024”.

While Auckland frontline workers have started to get vaccinated the risk of community transmission is a huge concern, “Now I would like to see that continue for the rest of the city,” Goff says.