COVID-19: Government to announce new information on New Zealand's nationwide vaccine rollout

COVID-19: Government to announce new information on New Zealand's nationwide vaccine rollout
Photo credit: Getty

By Katie Scotcher of RNZ

The Government will on Wednesday reveal more details about the nationwide rollout of the vaccine, including roughly when people can expect to be vaccinated.

Border workers and their families have been the first to get the jab, with more than 50,000 frontline health workers next in line.

The plan, released on Wednesday, will set out broadly what happens after that and will include indications on when certain groups can expect to be vaccinated.

Vulnerable groups, such as people who are immunocompromised and the elderl, will likely be a priority.

The roll-out is understood to be based on need, rather than on location.

South Auckland, however, might be an exception, with officials already indicating vaccinating people there will be a priority.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield last Thursday said it was being considered.

"If we think about our border workforce... majority of them are based in South Auckland, and also the fact that the last two outbreaks we've had in the community have been in South Auckland.

"We're putting a layer of protection by vaccinating that border workforce and their whānau, and then I think it makes sense that very early on when we start to roll out further the next layer of protection out would be to not just protect that community but we would be protecting the wider country by starting to protect that community," Dr Bloomfield said last week.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and Bloomfield will outline the plan at 1pm on Wednesday.

It follows the Government's announcement on Monday that it had agreed to purchase enough doses of the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate the entire country.

The additional 8.5 million doses bring the total amount ordered by New Zealand to 10 million.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the bulk order would make achieving herd immunity in New Zealand by the end of the year simpler.