Older Kiwis are fast approaching full vaccination but first dose bookings are dwindling among younger generations, a Herald analysis can reveal.
Data supplied by the Ministry of Health show at least 90 per cent of people aged 65 and older in all but two of New Zealand’s 17 DHB groups have had one dose of the Pfizer vaccine as at Sunday.
The remaining two – Northland and West Coast – are close behind on 89 per cent for that age group.
Only one DHB – South Canterbury – has fully vaccinated 90 per cent of people 65 and over with a further 4 per cent booked to get their second jab.
Eight DHBs – Whanganui, MidCentral, Wairarapa, Lakes, Capital and Coast/Hutt Valley, Nelson Marlborough, Canterbury and Southern – have enough bookings already made in this age group to reach 90 per cent.
Lagging behind is Taranaki at 73 per cent, but a further 15 per cent are booked to get their second jab.
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Levels of first dose vaccination among people aged between 12-34 were sporadic across the country and the number of booked appointments were desperately low in many areas.
Southern, Capital and Coast/Hutt Valley and Auckland Metro (a combination of Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau DHBs) had achieved at least 70 per cent first dose vaccination levels in its entire eligible population.
Sixty-one per cent of Canterbury’s 12 to 34-year-olds had had their first jab and a further 11 per cent were booked in.
However, that was the highest level of booking across any age group for any DHB regarding first doses.
Only Taranaki had similar booking quantities at 8 and 9 per cent for its unvaccinated 12-34 and 35-64 populations respectively.
For all other DHBs, no more than 5 per cent of their unvaccinated populations had made a booking.
Northland had recorded the lowest levels of first dose vaccinations for both the 12-34 and 35-64 populations at 44 and 69 per cent respectively.
It was also one of three DHBs which had no more than 1 per cent of either population booked for their first jab, joined by Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti (the latter had no unvaccinated 35 to 64-year-olds booked).
Levels of administered and booked second doses for the two younger age groups were largely similar.
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In the youngest age group, administered double vaccination levels ranged from 11 per cent (Northland) to 27 per cent (Auckland Metro).
Booked second doses ranged from 13 per cent (Tairāwhiti) to 44 per cent (Capital and Coast/Hutt Valley).
In the middle age group, levels of administered second doses ranged from 31 per cent (Taranaki) to 51 per cent (Auckland Metro).
However, Taranaki had the highest number of this age group booked for their second dose (39 per cent), while Tairāwhiti had the least at 14 per cent.
Nationwide, 65 per cent of people between 12-34 years old had received one jab and 33 per cent had booked their second vaccine. Twenty-one per cent were fully vaccinated while 4 per cent had booked their first vaccination.
For people between 35-64 years old, 80 per cent had had one jab and 29 per cent had booked their second. Forty-five per cent were fully vaccinated and 3 per cent had booked their first vaccine.
For those 65 years old and older, 92 per cent had received one jab and 7 per cent were booked in for their second. Eighty-one per cent were fully vaccinated and under 1 per cent had booked their first jab.
University of Auckland associate professor of public health Dr Collin Tukuitonga said the declining number of bookings was likely due to two factors; vaccine hesitancy and the widespread access to vaccines.
A large number of vaccination centres across the country now didn’t require a booking, thanks to high vaccine availability.
Tukuitonga said as vaccination levels approached 100 per cent, the harder it would become, given the number of people who were anti-vax or vaccine-hesitant.
“For any vaccine, it’s a lot easier to do the first 60-70 per cent, that’s the low-hanging fruit,” he said.
“As you progress towards the tail, it gets harder and harder.”
He said it was critical vaccination levels in young people were lifted as fast as possible, citing the large proportion of youths who had been infected during New Zealand’s current Delta outbreak.
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