Tuesday, June 15, 2021

One million Pfizer vaccine doses a shot in the arm for NZ rollout

Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

“These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1 million Kiwis,” Mr Hipkins said.

“This is great news and reassuring to see our vaccine supply ramping up. It shows our plan for what is the biggest and most complex logistical undertaking ever by the health system is on track.”

He said the doses would arrive in weekly drops, ramping up in quantity from mid July as the wider population rollout begins.

“The drops will enable us to continue vaccinating Groups 1,2, and 3, while giving us the certainty needed to start the general population rollout as planned,” the Minister said.

“The supplies means DHBs can keep delivering to their plans and start accelerating their way through Group 3 from mid July – which is everyone over the age of 65 and people with disabilities and some underlying health conditions. It’s a group of more than 1 million people and will take time to work through. As we start Group 4, we will significantly ramp up our vaccination efforts.”

Mr Hipkins said around 20,000 doses a day were currently being administered and the Pfizer deliveries throughout July would enable this to increase significantly.

“At the peak of the programme in August and September we expect to be administering 50,000 doses per day,” he said.

“This will add to the significant momentum already being generated by New Zealand’s vaccine programme.”

Plan on track

“To date, we’ve fully vaccinated over a quarter of a million people. That is a pleasing milestone. Our strategy has meant we’ve largely avoided having to stretch the time between first and second doses as many countries have,” Mr Hipkins said.

“Work is well advanced to set up more vaccination sites, deliver mass vaccination events, and bring more GPs and pharmacies on-board to help with the rollout.

“While we know the ongoing pandemic can impact vaccine delivery schedules, Pfizer has given us further assurances that the remaining deliveries for 2021 are also on track, just as their deliveries to date have been.”

He said New Zealand had vaccinated more people than planned so far, and more than 6,800 vaccinators had completed the necessary training to administer the Pfizer vaccine.

“We have at our disposal one of the best vaccines in the world and starting later next month we will start making it available, for free, to everyone in New Zealand over the age of 16,” Mr Hipkins said.

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