Coronavirus: Ministry of Health launches 0800 number for group 3 to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments

An 0800 number is now available for people in group 3 to book their COVID-19 vaccine.

The COVID Vaccination Healthline was launched by the Ministry of Health on Friday and will allow people in group 3, who haven't yet received an invitation to have their vaccination, to make an appointment.

The number is 0800 28 29 26.

Group 3 includes Kiwis aged 65 years and over and those who are at risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Groups 1 and 2 covered border and MIQ workers, those they lived with, high-risk frontline workers, and people living in high-risk places.

It's estimated that between now and Christmas, based on the national vaccination rollout plan, the COVID Vaccination Healthline is expecting to speak to more than 2.5 million New Zealanders.

National director of the COVID-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme Jo Gibbs says the 0800 number will provide booking support and vaccination information. Advisors will also answer clinical questions.

She says district health boards are making good progress in sending out invitations to people in group 3 by contacting them via email, text, phone calls, and through the post.

"If you're not enrolled with a health provider or have not updated your contact details, or have outdated patient records, then we may not have been able to contact you," Gibbs says.

"This new number means that if you're 65 or over, have an underlying health condition, if you're disabled, caring for someone who is disabled, or if you're pregnant, you're definitely in group 3 and can book your vaccination from today by calling the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26."

The COVID Vaccination Healthline is open between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. More than 650 team members will be rostered throughout the day, working in shifts.

"They'll be happy to help with translation services if you need them - they have access to more than 150 languages," Gibbs says.

She says the Healthline teams work across the country and within communities. Some will work from their homes and others are based in contact centres in Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings, Rotorua, Wellington, and Christchurch.

"We want everyone in group 3 to have an opportunity to book their vaccine appointment before we open bookings to the 60-plus age band on July 28," she says.

"That's also when the online booking tool, Book My Vaccine, will be available."

Book My Vaccine is the national COVID-19 booking system. When age groups in group 4 become eligible to be vaccinated, people will receive an invite to book an appointment through there.

So far in New Zealand, a total of 1,553,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. This is made up of 924,776 people who've received their first dose and 628,259 people who are fully vaccinated.