New Zealand dispenses record number of jabs at ‘Vaxathon’

Oct 15, 2021, 8:59 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2021, 6:41 am
Jason Waitoa waits for his vaccination in Rotorua, New Zealand, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. New Zealan...

Jason Waitoa waits for his vaccination in Rotorua, New Zealand, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. New Zealand health care workers have administered a record number of vaccine jabs as the nation holds a festival aimed at getting more people inoculated against the coronavirus. (Andrew Warner/NZME via AP)

(Andrew Warner/NZME via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand health care workers administered a record number of vaccine jabs Saturday as the nation held a festival aimed at getting more people inoculated against the coronavirus.

Musicians, sports stars and celebrities pitched in for the “Vaxathon” event which was broadcast on television and online for eight hours straight. By late afternoon, more than 120,000 people had gotten shots, eclipsing the daily record of 93,000 set in August. The event stretched into the evening.

A throwback to TV fundraising “telethon” events that were popular from the 1970s through the 1990s, it comes as New Zealand faces its biggest threat since the pandemic began, with an outbreak of the delta variant spreading through the largest city of Auckland and beyond.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who chatted with motorists at a drive-through vaccination center in Wellington, initially set a target of 100,000 jabs for the day but upped that to 150,000 after the first target was met.

She also set a target of 25,000 shots for Indigenous Maori, whose vaccination numbers have been lagging and who have been hit hard by the latest outbreak.

National carrier Air New Zealand converted a Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane into a vaccination clinic for the day, issuing people boarding passes on “Flight NZVAX.”

Singer Lorde beamed in from abroad, saying she couldn’t wait to come back home to play a concert and have everyone get sweaty and dance.

“I am the first person to admit that I find getting injections really icky, but ever since I was a kid, I have treated myself by going to the bakery after an injection, normally for a custard tart,” she said. “So you could do that.”

New Zealand has so far used only the Pfizer vaccine.

For much of the pandemic, New Zealanders have lived completely free from the virus after the government successfully eliminated each outbreak through strict lockdowns and contact tracing.

That zero-tolerance strategy failed for the first time after the outbreak of the more contagious delta variant began in August. Until then, New Zealand was slow to immunize its population. It since has been making up for lost ground.

Before the Vaxathon, about 72% of New Zealanders had received at least one dose and 54% were fully vaccinated. Among those aged 12 and over, the proportion was about 83% and 62% respectively.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Tamala Payne, left, the mother of Casey Goodson Jr., reacts along with Goodson's aunt Brandie Payne...
Associated Press

$250,000 bond for deputy charged in Casey Goodson shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio sheriff’s deputy who shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of murder and reckless homicide nearly one year after the killing of Goodson on Dec. 4, 2020. A magistrate set bond for defendant Jason Meade at $250,000, which Meade’s attorney said […]
13 hours ago
FILE - A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli...
Associated Press

AP Source: State Department employees hacked by NSO Group

WASHINGTON (AP) — The phones of 11 U.S. State Department employees were hacked using technology from Israel’s NSO Group, the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire company, according to a person familiar with the matter. The employees were all located in Uganda and included some foreign service officers, said the person, who was not authorized to speak […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Mall shooting stemmed from attempted robbery

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A mall shooting in North Carolina that left three people wounded was the result of an attempted robbery and one of the wounded is the suspected robber, police said Friday. Interviews by investigators and reviews of video determined that two men approached a man selling jewelry outside a store on the […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor vetoes GOP abortion bills

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed five Republican-authored anti-abortion bills on Friday, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could curtail if not end a woman’s right to abortion. Evers, who is making his support for abortion rights a key plank of his 2022 reelection […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Belgian zoo says its 2 very runny-nosed hippos have COVID-19

BRUSSELS (AP) — A Belgian zoo said Friday that a pair of hippopotamuses in its care are in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, possibly the first time ever such animals have caught the disease. Belgium’s national veterinary lab has confirmed that Antwerp Zoo’s two hippos — Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien — contracted […]
13 hours ago
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the November jobs report, in the State Dining Room of the W...
Associated Press

Hoarse Biden says it’s just a cold he caught from grandson

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has at least one thing in common with thousands of parents and grandparents this winter: He’s picked up a cold from his young grandson. The president has had an unusually low, scratchy voice and an occasional cough all week, prompting questions from the press about his health on Friday. […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
New Zealand dispenses record number of jabs at ‘Vaxathon’