An awareness campaign to call more than 21,500 unvaccinated people over the age of 65 in Auckland saw just 4,120 people make a Covid-19 vaccine reservation by phone when contacted.
When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Auckland’s move to Alert Level 3 on September 20, she pleaded for unvaccinated over-65s to stay home until vaccinated.
Ardern said officials were targeting this group, including sending letters, and announced that starting September 20, Healthline would call around 8,000 people a day as part of a campaign to help older Kiwis to get the vaccine.
Data communicated to Thing by Whakarongorau Aotearoa, which operates the Covid vaccination medical line, showed that 17,167 of the 21,592 people on the list received a call within the first 48 hours. Of those surveyed, 24% made an immediate vaccination reservation.
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This did not include the number of people in the group who made a reservation on their own, through Book My Vaccine or by calling the service themselves.
Whakarongorau Aotearoa general manager Andrew Slater said the helpline provided general information on the Covid-19 vaccination to those who were not ready to make a reservation.
“Some people we spoke to wanted additional clinical advice, and we suggested that this cohort speak to their GP.”
The service continues to track those who have not made a reservation at that time, but they have no control over the proportion of the remaining people who have since booked.
Slater said a large portion of people who phoned the Covid vaccination hotline had “very legitimate” curiosities or questions about the vaccine.
For example, of 6,434 vaccine-related calls to the service on Monday, 44% had a question they wanted help with. The rest were reservations related queries.
Slater said the service is running a number of awareness campaigns, including location-specific programs in Ōtara, Northland, Rotorua and Hawke’s Bay.
On Tuesday, there were three call campaigns and 17 SMS or email campaigns, reaching approximately 53,000 Kiwis.
These included tracking people, reminders about appointments and availability, and access to clinics.
Slater urged anyone who wanted questions asked before making a vaccine reservation to contact the Immunization Hotline. This can be done anonymously, if you are concerned about this.
Since the start of the Delta epidemic, the Covid vaccination helpline has responded to nearly 455,000 calls.
Announcing the awareness campaign a few weeks ago, Ardern said the majority of those over 65 had been vaccinated, but for the group that hadn’t, “we really want to encourage you to take that next step. “.
“We have only asked our oldest people to stay home once before. It was when we didn’t have a tool to protect you. It was just at the start of the lockdown.
“Now we have a tool, and I ask you to use it please,” she said.
The Covid vaccination helpline is available on 0800 28 29 26, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.