Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Dunedin topples Kaikōura as vaccination Top Town

Dunedin City is currently the most Covid-immunised place in New Zealand while vaccination levels in the Waikato surge following fresh Covid cases.

New data from the Ministry of Health shows 59.6 per cent of Dunedin City residents are fully vaccinated, narrowly beating Marlborough (59.4 per cent) for the top spot as at Tuesday.

It’s the latest update in the New Zealand Herald’s “Top Town” initiative as part of our vaccination campaign – The 90 per cent Project – which aims to get 90 per cent of eligible Kiwis fully vaccinated by Christmas.

(Please note the interactive above will update automatically when new data is released.)

Dunedin was fourth on the list when the initiative began on Saturday. It also currently has the third-lowest population of unvaccinated people at 13 per cent, behind Queenstown-Lakes (9.4 per cent) and Wellington (10.4 per cent).

In third is Nelson (58.7 per cent), followed by Central Otago (58.6 per cent) and original leaders Kaikōura (57.8 per cent).

Dunedin City mayor Aaron Hawkins was glad to see high vaccination levels in his area, but stressed more work was needed to see that trend continue.

“It’s great to see that the rates of vaccination are so high, but before we congratulate ourselves, we know that won’t be evenly spread across the community,” he said.

“It’s really important that we continue to find the people that haven’t made use of the vaccination programme to date.”

Given the South Island had almost been a year without a positive Covid case, Hawkins was impressed by how many people had moved quickly to get their jabs.

“We know that outbreaks have been a big driver of vaccination uptake … so it really speaks to the strong community spirit of people in Dunedin getting in behind this.”

With the Government’s transition away from elimination, Hawkins said it was now more urgent for people to be fully vaccinated in order to protect children who weren’t eligible for the vaccine.

Meanwhile, full vaccination levels in some areas of the Waikato appear to be increasing strongly.

Waikato District rose eight places compared to its previous position – the most out of any area. It now has 47.5 per cent of its residents fully vaccinated with 24.3 per cent still yet to get a jab.

Hamilton City rose five places which was the third biggest shift. It now has 52.6 per cent of its residents fully vaccinated.

It came as fresh Covid cases were found in the Waikato, most recently in Kāwhia and Karāpiro.

Unfortunately, Ōtorohanga District – which included Kāwhia – had the lowest level of complete vaccination in the country at 35.3 per cent.

Mayor Max Baxter, who confirmed Kāwhia’s positive Covid case to the Herald, said he hoped the revelation would act as motivation for people get their jab.

“It’s terrible that it takes a heightened awareness to inspire people to get vaccinated but that’s the case,” Baxter said.

“As they say, Delta is the virus of the unvaccinated.”

Baxter said he understood people’s apprehension about the vaccine, but once a member of their whānau was affected, they would change their tune.

“Trust me, if one of their whānau or friends got seriously ill or died as a consequence, I’m sure their views would be entirely different.

“It’s not vaccines that takes people’s liberties away, it’s Delta that takes people’s liberties away, it’s Covid itself, in essence.”

The Herald will update the data on a regular basis.

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