Jacinda Ardern pledges to publicly get COVID-19 vaccine when it's available in NZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to be publicly vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available in New Zealand.

"Will I publicly be vaccinated? Absolutely. For me it's all about leading by example," Ardern told The Project on Friday.

But the Prime Minister couldn't guarantee that she would be one of the first to receive the vaccine.

"The first vaccinations need to go to front line workers, those at greatest risk, and that's where our priorities should be."

While the UK has approved the  Pfizer vaccine and is currently rolling it out, Ardern said it will be some time before we get a vaccine in New Zealand. 

She said distributing the vaccine may take some time because no one will have enough doses in the first cut to distribute to everyone. 

The government has put aside "hundreds of millions" for a vaccine, which will be free for all New Zealanders.

"It is coming at a cost," Ardern said. "But not nearly the same cost as the loss of life or the cost of a hit to our economy."

When asked if Ardern would test the vaccine and put people off by flinching, the Prime Minister said she would "be very stoic".

She said there will be Kiwis feeling hesitant about a vaccine, so it's about making sure they have all the information they need to make the right decision.

"We've had vaccine hesitancy in New Zealand for some time, but that means it can be overcome."

Kiwis are becoming increasingly wary of vaccine safety, a survey released in November found.

In September, a national survey found one in four New Zealanders are hesitant about a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ardern says making sure that people have access to information may help convince hesitant Kiwis.

"Collectively we [need to] show we've gone through a proper process for the vaccine as well, so people can have faith in it."

She said more evidence needs to come out before decisions about borders and managed isolation facilities are made, like whether vaccinated people can still pass on COVID-19.

When asked if there was a government policy about conspiracy theorists, Ardern said she would start by not promoting them.