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By Online Desk

New Zealand on Saturday took vaccination drive against Covid 19 to new heights by administering shots to at least 2.5% of its people through a campaign dubbed as “national day for action for vaccination”

The country of 4.9 million saw 124, 669 people receiving shots on Super Saturday Vaxathon.

This, according to reports, was a record number of coronavirus vaccines administered to locals in the country with New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern urging the people to get fully vaccinated against coronavirus pandemic as soon as possible.

Till now, 62 per cent of the eligible population in New Zealand has been fully vaccinated and 83 per cent have received their first shot.

On Saturday, 41 new cases were reported, of which 40 were from Auckland, according to reports.

With the government adopting novel initiatives to galvanize the vaccination programme, the national airline, Air New Zealand, announced that this week it would be converting a 787 Dreamliner into a novel vaccination clinic, complete with the traditional snack service and the option of in-flight entertainment during the 30-minute post-vaccine observation period.

“People will board through the front door into business premier [class], where they will receive one dose of the Pfizer vaccine in their arm of choice,” the airline said in a statement. “They will then move through the cabin into economy, where a snack service will commence. While they wait to disembark after the observation period, Kiwis will be able to enjoy the in-flight entertainment,” The Guardian reported.

The government launched a daylong “Vaxathon” modelled on the old-fashioned telethons of previous decades and live-broadcast the vaccination rates of regions in a bid to foster “healthy competition.”

The walk-in centres had cropped up for Saturday’s drive in a nationwide push to increase vaccination. Most centres served food, drinks and prizes for young people. Further, there were free bus trips, barbecues and lots of “giveaways and incentives,” to lure the people to vaccination centres. 

“New Zealand has been world-leading on keeping down our case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths,” Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday. “I believe we can be world-leading on vaccines too,” she affirmed.

A recently announced vaccine mandate compels doctors, pharmacists, community nurses and other healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by December.

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