Five new locations of interest linked to people with Covid-19 have been identified by health officials, with two of these showing positive cases had been at a large Auckland supermarket and chemist on Tuesday – barely 24 hours before Auckland came out of alert level 4 lockdown.

The new locations are:

* Tai Ping Asian Supermarket: 16 Bishop Dunn Place, Flat Bush

* Fresh Vege Mart: 6 Yates Rd, Māngere East

* Pak’nSave Māngere: Corner of Bader Drive and Orly Ave, Māngere

* Unichem Māngere Pharmacy: 12 Waddon Place, Māngere

* Pak’nSave Ormiston: 1 Bellingham Rd, Flat Bush
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The Unichem Māngere Pharmacy and Pak’nSave Ormiston have been linked to people with Covid on Tuesday – the day before Auckland dropped to alert level 3.

A person with the virus was at the pharmacy on Tuesday morning between 9.15am and 10am.

Anyone who was at the chemist at the same time is told to stay home and get a test straight away.

“Stay at home, test immediately as well as five days after you were exposed at this location of interest,” the Ministry of Health advice says.

“Please continue to stay at home until you receive a negative day five test result.”

People who were at the pharmacy are also urged to record their visit on the health ministry’s website or to call Heathline on 0800 611 116.

Pak’nSave Ormiston is linked to a Covid positive person who was at the supermarket for an hour-and-a-half on Tuesday afternoon – between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Members of the public who were at the supermarket during that time are told to monitor their health for 14 days after their visit and to get a test if Covid symptoms start to show.

Jab trials for young 'looking positive'

Vaccine trials are looking positive in young children, a top immunologist says – giving hope New Zealand could get vaccination rates up past 90 or even 95 per cent.

That would give the country hope of outrunning the worst-case scenario in modelling released by Te Pūnaha Matatini researchers yesterday.

The research led by Professor Shaun Hendy found approval of the Pfizer vaccine in 5- to 11-year-olds could lift coverage as high as 90 per cent, which could keep deaths as low as 50.

But if vaccination rates were at 80 per cent of over-5s, New Zealand could see 60,000 hospitalisations and 7000 deaths if other restrictions weren’t in place.

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Immunologist Graham Le Gros told Three’s The AM Show this morning that vaccine trials in young children looked positive – which would give us the chance to get to 95 per cent coverage and lead the world.

While parents were always worried about what went into their children, Delta was so potent it was necessary to guard against the ravages of the virus.

Māori and Pasifika people appeared to be particularly susceptible to Covid, he said. There were many ways to deal with protecting against the virus including anti-body therapies.

Andrew Stapleton, chair of the NZ College of Intensive Care Medicine, also said New Zealand needed 95 per cent of the country vaccinated because we didn’t have enough ICU capacity.

He told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking this morning he was heartened to see Pfizer’s vaccine had been extended to younger age groups – and said his kids would be first in line for the jab if it was approved.

New Zealand’s ICU capacity had still not grown because there weren’t enough specialist nurses. The Herald reported this morning that ICU nurses can’t get into the country even after accepting job offers here.

There were now 550 ICU beds in New Zealand. That would be enough only if the population was over 95 per cent vaccinated.

“We haven’t got our heads round 95 per cent but we’re going to have to.”

Speaking to Hosking from Sydney, Vice President of the Intensive Care Society in Australia Mark Nicholls said ICU capacity there had increased, which meant people were less likely to die.

New South Wales had not been able to stop the spread of Delta but deaths were not high. That was mainly due to a rapid increase in vaccination rates and people following public health rules, both of which helped flatten the “wave” of Delta.

Some have debated whether the dire numbers in Hendy’s modelling were accurate. Le Gros said the model was a projection – it was hard to know how vaccination would work in New Zealand as we couldn’t really compare ourselves with other countries. For example, we didn’t have mass transport systems like in Singapore.

But Auckland University epidemiologist Janine Paynter told Hosking she was confident in Hendy’s model, given there was always a range of uncertainty in either direction.

The assumptions made in the model – such as different rates of testing, tracing and isolating – were robust. It also used real-world data from the UK to do with vaccine effectiveness.

Economist Rodney Jones has disputed the accuracy of Hendy’s model, calling it “overcooked” and “rushed”. But Paynter said Jones’ modelling had its own flaws. He was comparing New Zealand to overseas which was dangerous because there were so many factors that made New Zealand different to other countries.

Māori, Pacific vaccination rates need to be a focus

Māori health researcher Dr Rawiri Taonui said a 90 per cent vaccination rate was the best case scenario and means less risk for Māori. But the model still had 50 estimated deaths per year at that rate – which would highly likely be a large proportion of Māori, Taonui told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme.

Speaking about young children – aged 5 to 12 years old – getting the vaccine, he said it was important we make sure it was safe for them to get it in the first place.

What experts did know was that the Pfizer vaccine produced “really good results” for those young people aged 12 to 19 years old.

The Delta variant is impacting young people around the world more than other variants, he said.

“One of the features of Delta is there’s a higher rate of long-term effects – what they call long Covid – in young people.”

That presented a “huge” risk to the Māori and Pacific communities in this current outbreak in particular, he said, who had been heavily impacted in the Auckland outbreak.

Taonui said there continues to be low trust associated with the Government system among Māori and that could be affecting low vaccination rates.

But it was important for the vaccines to be taken into the communities so people felt safe to get it together with their community or whānau – rather than expecting people to turn up to vaccination clinics individually.

“Roll it out to the whānau,” Taonui said.

• For more on the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine and other things you need to know, listen to our podcast Science Digest with Michelle Dickinson

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