Coronavirus: New graph shows vaccine rollout timeline, how many jabs expected per week

The big push is expected from July.
The big push is expected from July. Photo credit: Getty.

The Ministry of Health has released a new graph illustrating how New Zealand's vaccine rollout will scale up over the coming year. 

Last Wednesday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed four groups Kiwis had been categorised into, which will determine when they will be able to access a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The general plan is to see New Zealand's frontline border, MIQ and healthcare workers vaccinated first as well as vulnerable people in "high-risk settings" such as Counties Manukau. About 1.7 million people from "priority populations" will then be vaccinated before remaining Kiwis from about July onwards.

That rollout has now been illustrated in a graph from the Ministry of Health. It is broken down into the four groups, with the vaccination campaign ramping up in late February and March. 

By roughly April, the ministry is expecting to see about 70,000 doses of vaccines being administered per week, climbing to nearly 250,000 per week as the general population gets access in the second half of the year. 

Coronavirus: New graph shows vaccine rollout timeline, how many jabs expected per week
Photo credit: Ministry of Health.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Hipkins said the vaccine programme was dependent on the delivery of the vaccines from overseas manufacturers. 

"We have to sequence to coincide with deliveries to make sure we don't run out at any points during the year and we have worked through that very carefully," he said.

"We have got to make sure that we have enough vaccines to the second dose three weeks after people have had their first dose and to make sure that as we ramp up our vaccine delivery, that's sustainable. What we don't wanna do is find that we are ramping up and then we are having to scale down and then ramp up again."

The minister said the Government hadn't set a fixed target for how many people it wants vaccinated as it wants as many people as possible to get the jab. The number of people getting the shot will be monitored week-by-week, he said.

Providing "good, reliable, fact-based information" will be critical, Hipkins said, especially as we reach the end of the year.

"As we look at the latter part of the year, particularly that fourth quarter, the biggest challenge for us there is going to be to get people to be vaccinated," he said.

"We know that towards the middle of the year as we ramp up and make it publicly available there will be a lot of demand. That demand will start to tail off and it's the last group that actually is going to be the challenge group."

Hipkins said 27,000 Kiwis had received at least one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab - the only vaccine currently available in New Zealand - with 60 percent located in Auckland and around a quarter being Māori or Pacifika.

Earlier in the day, the ministry said that more than 500 border and MIQ workers had received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. About 91 percent of such workers have now received at least one dose.