New Zealand is 90 percent fully vaccinated.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement on Thursday and is encouraging Kiwis to give themselves a pat on the back.
"We knew yesterday we'd reached the milestone, and now that the official count is through, we can formally recognise the hard work of everyone who has played their part, and who are continuing to do their bit," Hipkins says.
“Their commitment means all New Zealanders are safer and more protected, and can get back to doing the things they love, whether it’s travelling to catch up with friends and family for Christmas, heading out to restaurants, pubs and cafes, or enjoying the many festivals and outdoor events planned for the summer."
Reaching 90 percent fully vaccinated in New Zealand could not have happened without district health board teams, Māori and Pacific health providers, community groups and more than 15,000 vaccinators who took part in the country's vaccination programme, he says.
“This result also comes hot on the heels of the three district health boards in the Auckland metropolitan area having now hit the 90 percent fully vaccinated milestone."
Seven district health boards have reached the 90 percent mark and many others are set to achieve it in the coming days.
By 11.59pm on Wednesday, 3,789,662 of the 4,209,057 eligible New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated with 3,969,267 — or 94 percent — partially vaccinated, Hipkins says.
“We know we still have more to do, and we will be continuing the mahi to further raise vaccination rates in those areas where it’s most needed – as well as among our Māori and Pacific communities to bring them closer to that 90 per cent fully vaccinated mark.
“That’s why I encourage everyone in Aotearoa who is eligible for the vaccine to go ahead and get their shot, whether it be their first, second or a booster dose."
Hundreds of places where people could get vaccinated against Covid-19 would be open until Christmas and during the summer holidays.
“We want all of our communities protected against COVID-19, and no-one who’s eligible to be left behind.”
Top image: A vaccination team in Auckland helps vaccinate locals on November 30, 2021. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images