COVID-19: Ashley Bloomfield confident most Kiwis can get coronavirus vaccination in the second half of 2021

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is confident most New Zealanders will be able to line up for a COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of the year.

The Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday was provisionally approved by drug regulator Medsafe.

Border workers and their families will get it first followed by the elderly and the vulnerable. Everyone else will have to wait until the second half of 2021.

Dr Bloomfield told The AM Show Wednesday's Medsafe approval was a major step forward and hopes everyone takes up the opportunity to get the vaccination when the time comes.

"We need to make sure that the vaccines are easily accessible for people wherever they are in New Zealand - that's what we're working on.

"We're aiming to have had every Kiwi offered the vaccine ... to be vaccinated before the end of this calendar year.

Ashley Bloomfield.
Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: The AM Show

"I'm greatly hopeful that as many Kiwis as possible will take up that invitation."

The Ministry of Health is also considering venues for vaccination clinics in what will be New Zealand's largest-ever vaccine rollout, Dr Bloomfield said.

"There will be a whole range of options; places that are the core of our current vaccination systems [such as] general practices.

"We're also looking at other options - larger events; drive-through type situations. We've seen in countries overseas where they have the mass-vaccination events at, say, a sports stadium so we're looking at all those options." 

COVID-19: Ashley Bloomfield confident most Kiwis can get coronavirus vaccination in the second half of 2021
Photo credit: Getty

Meanwhile, people hesitant to get the jab are being urged to consider the risk to others. University of Otago vaccinologist James Ussher said those who don't get vaccinated will be putting themselves and others at risk.

"If you're not vaccinated, it's not clear at the moment that you can necessarily rely on others being vaccinated to provide you protection when the borders are opened," Prof Ussher told Newshub on Wednesday.

And he wants New Zealanders to relax over the vaccine's delivery delays. The Government has yet to disclose when the ordered 750,000 ordered Pfizer vaccine does will arrive, other than saying they will arrive in the next few months.

"[It] doesn't have a massive impact on New Zealand," Prof Ussher said. "I think there are other parts of the world that are in much greater need of vaccines at the moment."