WELLINGTON (New Zealand) -- Saturday's record-breaking number of vaccination jabs was administered by New Zealand health workers at a festival that aimed to increase the number of people who have been inoculated against coronavirus.
The "Vaxathon", which featured celebrities, sports stars, and musicians, was broadcast live on television and online for eight consecutive hours. Late afternoon, 120,000 people had taken shots. This surpasses the August daily record of 93,000. The event lasted into the evening.
It's a throwback to the TV fundraising "telethons" that were popular in the 1970s and 1990s. This comes as New Zealand is facing its greatest threat since the pandemic. The delta variant could spread through Auckland, the largest city, and other parts of New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, met with motorists at a Wellington drive-through vaccination centre. She initially set a goal of 100,000 jabs per day, but increased that number to 150,000 when the first target was achieved.
She also set a goal of 25,000 shots to be administered to Indigenous Maori who have been hard hit by the recent outbreak and whose vaccinations have been slow.
Singer Lorde sounded in from overseas, saying that she was eager to return home to perform a concert and make everyone dance.
She said, "I'm the first to admit that I hate getting injections, but I've been going to the bakery every time I get a injection, usually for a custard tart." You could do that.
New Zealand has used the Pfizer vaccine so far.
After strict quarantine and contact tracing, the government was able to eliminate every outbreak of the virus in New Zealand for most of the pandemic.
After the August outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant, the zero-tolerance strategy was abandoned. New Zealand had been slow to immunize its citizens until then. Since then, it has made up ground.
About 72% of New Zealanders had at least one vaccine and 54% had been fully vaccinated before the Vaxathon. The proportions of those 12 years and older were approximately 83% and 62%, respectively.