New shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrive, families of border workers next in line for jab

A third shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines has arrived in the country, with the families and household contacts of border workers to be "vaccinated in earnest" next week.

The latest shipment arrived on Tuesday afternoon and contained 65,500 doses. It brings the total number of vaccines in New Zealand to 200,000.

According to the Ministry of Health, as of midnight Tuesday a total of 9431 people had been given their first dose of the vaccine, with more than 70 percent of those in Auckland.

That means more than half of the estimated 12,000 border workforce have now been given their first vaccination.

"We are well on our way to ensuring those who are most at risk of COVID-19, the cleaners, nurses who carry out health checks in MIQ, security staff, customs and border officials, hotel workers, airline staff, port authorities and vaccinators will be protected from this virus," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday.

In some smaller regions families of border workers had already received their first dose from the same batch, Hipkins said.

"This is really good news as it means they will also be protected from the virus, and ahead of schedule."

He said next in line to get the jab were people who may be exposed to COVID-19 while doing their jobs, such as frontline health workers and emergency staff.

No new community cases were reported on Wednesday.