Major vaccine milestone: New Zealand hits 250,000 COVID-19 jabs

New Zealand has reached a major vaccination milestone - a quarter of a million COVID-19 jabs have been received by Kiwis so far.

With just two months to go until the big vaccine rollout to all of New Zealand, there's a lot of work going on behind the scenes.

There are now more than 12,000 vaccinators. Of those, 3300 have completed their special COVID-training, with another 2000 expected to do so over the next two months. 

On top of that are another 3800 GPs who can carry out the vaccinations.

There is some way to go, but the vaccination system is scaling up as New Zealanders get ready to roll up their sleeves.

It was all quiet on Friday, but when the Super Vax clinic in West Auckland opens next week it will be a hive of activity.

"Getting ready for 80 vaccinations on the Tuesday, ramping up for 120 - plus as we grow, grow, grow, so it's all about vaccinating to the max and protecting our whakapapa," Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust clinical manager Ngaire Harris told Newshub.

When the clinic gets in full swing it'll be able to handle hundreds of people a day.

Those wanting to roll up their sleeves will get a quick temperature check on the way in, then register, before going through to the vaccination booths. Once they've had their jab, there's a 20-minute wait in the observation area. In and out in 35 minutes.

But this COVID-vaccination programme is unlike any other, so we need specially trained vaccinators to get the job done.

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) national manager Loretta Roberts said over the next eight weeks another 2000 people will go through the training programme.

IMAC education facilitator Sally Schnauer is training this group of vaccinators on how to handle the Pfizer vaccine.

"The other day I had a group of a hundred, so it varies quite a lot and some of our training is online and some of it is face to face."

Pharmacists will also be trained to give the vaccine, including Chris Leung.

"I think it's important as part of the health profession that we do things like this," he said.

"I'm a pharmacists vaccinator and I'm excited to come and be trained to deliver the COVID to the most needed."

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins is predicting bumps in the road; the biggest potential bump - vaccine availability.

There is intense demand for COVID-19 vaccines globally, not least of all India which is leading to big questions.

But we're okay for now. The Ministry of Health said it's "working closely with Pfizer… and at this time does not foresee any impact on New Zealand's deliveries".

So get ready to roll up your sleeves Kiwis.