There was no "debacle" when it came to the distribution of flu vaccines in New Zealand, the Prime Minister says.
NZ Medical Association chair Dr Kate Baddock says while the distribution of vaccines are now working well since the Ministry of Health and DHBs stepped in, it had earlier been a "complete debacle".
"I don't want to see what happened with flu, happen with a COVID-19 vaccine," she told the Epidemic Response Committee on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't mince her words.
"I disagree with them on that," said Ardern, adding New Zealand's flu vaccinations campaign started earlier than usual.
"We wanted to be prepared and we have more flu vaccines than we would normally offer as well, so I disagree with that assessment of the flu vaccine. We know we moved early.
"It's not finished, I should add. That will be a rolling campaign."
Ardern said those at the greatest risk - including pregnant people and the elderly - were prioritised for a vaccination.
"You'd recognise that in a pandemic more people are coming forward all at once when we started that programme."
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the flu vaccine was unique in New Zealand due to it being available in both the public and private health sectors.
"This year Pharmac has moved to secure an extra 400,000 doses of flu vaccine before COVID-19 was even about. We then moved to advance the flu vaccination programme so that we could make sure our most vulnerable New Zealanders could be vaccinated first and in fact, over 50 percent of over 65s have already been vaccinated even under a lockdown situation."
Dr Bloomfield said while GPs could only order 60 vaccines at a time, more than one order could be made.
"That is so it could be right across the country rather than sitting in one part of the country.
"The distribution was there but because of the extraordinary circumstances we [Ministry of Health] did step in to really put a control over that."
Earlier on Wednesday, Dr Baddock told the committee GPs across the country are also desperate for Government funding.
"The ability of general practices to stay afloat in this kind of environment is very, very unlikely in lots of cases."
As of Wednesday morning, 14 people have died of COVID-19 in New Zealand, with 1451 cases recorded.