The Government has announced its plans for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in New Zealand with most Kiwis expected to be able to get the jab by August.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the plan during the 1pm press conference on Wednesday.
"All of this has us in a very strong position," he said.
Kiwis have been broken up into four groups, depending on how at-risk they are and their priority for the vaccine.
Here's who is included in each group and when they will receive the vaccine:
Group 1 is made up of New Zealand's border and MIQ workers, of which there are approximately 15,000. The group also includes their household contacts and the people they live with, which is estimated to be around 40,000 Kiwis.
Their vaccination program began in February and the vast bulk of the vaccinations are expected to be completed by the end of March, with at least one dose administered.
Group 2 has been broken up into several subgroups who will each receive the jab:
- Frontline healthcare (non-border) workers who could be exposed to COVID-19 while providing care
- Frontline healthcare (non-border)workers who may expose vulnerable people to COVID-19
- At-risk people living in settings with a high risk of transmission or exposure to COVID-19
- Anyone who lives in the Counties Manukau area who is 65 and older or who has an underlying health condition is also in Group 2, due to the large number of MIQ workers and facilities in the area.
There are approximately 480,000 Kiwis who fall into these groups and their vaccine rollout began in February and will continue through to May.
The third group to get vaccinated are New Zealand's priority populations, around 1.7 million people. This includes:
- People aged 70+ (approx 317,000 people)
- People aged 65+ (approx 432,000 people)
- People with underlying health conditions or disabilities (approx 730,000 people)
The vaccinations for Group 3 are planned to start in May.
Group 4 is the remainder of the general New Zealand population - approximately 2 million people. Their vaccinations will start from July.
There are two further categories the Government is still looking at: one for people who may need to get a vaccine on compassionate grounds, and a national significance category, which could include groups who need a vaccine in order to represent New Zealand overseas.
"Decisions around these categories will be made at Cabinet in coming weeks," Hipkins said.
During the press conference, Hipkins said he was aware some dates may overlap and may shift slightly as the modelling continues.
"I want to reinforce that every New Zealand will be able to get a vaccine and it will be free."
Hipkins said the Government has been "fully focused" on the plan after securing more of the Pfizer vaccine.
"It's a balanced plan that reduces the risk of further outbreaks whilst protecting our elders, those with underlying health conditions, and those living in locations where previous outbreaks have occurred," he said.