Fifteen people living in the Southern District Health Board area have successfully applied for a vaccine pass exemption.

It is not possible to find out how many Central Otago and Upper Clutha people have one as the information is only shared by health board area.

The Ministry of Health had granted 593 exemptions in New Zealand as at February 1. That accounted for just under a third (32%) of the 1825 applications received by January 31.

The data was released to the Otago Daily Times under the Official Information Act on February 17.

A vaccine pass is an access requirement for certain activities and venues under New Zealand’s Covid-19 traffic light response system.

The biggest chunk of the exemptions – all approved by the Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield – went to people living in the Auckland District Health Board area.

National Immunisation Programme director Astrid Koornneef said there were some district health boards areas where no exemption applications had been made.

Information had not been provided in health board areas where fewer than 10 people had applied to protect peoples’ privacy, she said.

Ms Koornneef said more specific regional data on vaccine pass exemptions  -for example local authorities or towns within a health board area – had not been recorded and there were no grounds to believe any other agency held that information.

District health board areas where more than 10 exemptions were approved are:

Auckland 154; Canterbury 91; Bay of Plenty 60; Waikato 2; Waitemata 42; Nelson Marlborough 41; Lakes (Taupo and Rotorua) 40; Counties Manakau 24; Southern 15; Capital & Coast 13.

Fewer than 10 applications were granted in Hawke’s Bay, Hutt Valley, Mid Central, Northland, South Canterbury, Tairawhiti, Taranaki, Waiarapa, West Coast and Whanganui.

A temporary medical exemption lasts six months and once recorded on a person’s My Covid Record, it permits access to places the vaccinated can go, and not just essential services such as the supermarket or petrol station.