All DHBs must stick to national COVID-19 vaccination plan - Chris Hipkins

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says he expects all regions to stick to the same timeframe to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine so will be speaking to the Canterbury District Health Board (DHB) about its slow rollout.

Around most of the country, vaccinations will open up to the wider population from the end of July.

But on the weekend the Canterbury DHB COVID-19 response senior officer Ralph La Salle told Stuff that it expected to be still vaccinating group 3 until mid-September, and most vaccinations for people in group 4 in Canterbury would not start until mid-September.

La Salle said the DHB strongly encouraged everyone to be patient and wait their turn.

Hipkins said on Wednesday that some of the messages put out by Canterbury have not been aligned with the national plan, and ministry staff would be speaking to them about that.

"We want everyone across the country, all of the DHBs across the country to be working to a nationally consistent plan so that New Zealanders know what to expect," said Hipkins said.

"And we'll be working with each of those DHBs in the next few weeks, or the next few days really, to lock down their schedule for the next couple of months. We will be working to a nationally consistent plan and that includes Canterbury. Canterbury is still part of New Zealand."

Christchurch GP Pippa MacKay said she understood that the vaccine rollout was a large project covering unknown ground, but said it felt like the rollout in Canterbury had been slow and disjointed.

"[It] definitely is causing frustration. I'm really grateful for those that they have done and a lot of people have heard that they can book. But I had a couple this morning; he's an 80-year-old diabetic and his elderly wife, who haven't been contacted at all and all I can kind of do is say, this is the email to contact to find out why you haven't had a text yet.

"It's kind of bitty and a bit piecemeal, it seems. Some have been well catered for and others haven't heard at all. "

She said the communication about when people could expect a vaccine had not been great.

"I would like, it would ideally be extremely clear and transparent and well communicated to us and to the population as to how and when to expect things and for that timeline to be ideally kept to."

The Canterbury DHB said it was not, and had no intention of delaying vaccinations to the community.

In a statement, La Salle said given group 3 was such a large group, they expected to be vaccinating this group until mid-September.

But he confirmed people in group 4 would be able to book a vaccination appointment from July 28.