No invite for National leader Judith Collins as first MPs get their COVID-19 vaccines

The first politicians have got their COVID-19 jabs, promising they weren't jumping the queue because they need to practice what they preach.

And while the Government has invited other MPs to get the vaccine, it hasn't been extended to National leader Judith Collins.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins got his first jab on Wednesday morning. While he wasn't quite Clark Kent, Hipkins ditched his suit for the greater good. 

"I didn't want to have to get my shirt off," he said. "I thought a t-shirt's better so I can just roll my sleeve up and get into it."

The COVID-19 Response Minister braved the needle. 

"I didn't even feel it, to be honest," he said. "I was expecting a little prick; I didn't even feel a little prick. You did really well," he told the medical staff. 

'Just a little prick' is the Government's rallying cry to get the public on board. 

"We worked really hard just to try and get the balance right here," Hipkins said. "None of us wants to be seen to be jumping the queue but we also have to recognise that people are looking to us to demonstrate confidence in the vaccine programme."

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall was up next. She also braved the needle, crediting her recent move into politics from medicine. 

"I've got much thicker skin over the last three months or so," she joked. 

The ministers were among the 52,000 people who've had at least one jab, because part of the plan is to use trusted community leaders to convince vaccine sceptics - despite politicians being consistently ranked least-trusted. 

"Probably not," one person told Newshub when asked if seeing a politician get the vaccine would make them want to get one too. 

One person said they'd feel more confident watching their doctor get it. 

Another said they'd like to see Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern get vaccinated - and he'll get his wish soon. She will get the inoculation before it goes to the wider public.

"When I do receive mine I will be sharing that publicly," Ardern said on Wednesday. "For me, it's a way of demonstrating the confidence that we have in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine."

National leader Judith Collins is keen, too, but hasn't got the invite.

"I haven't seen a letter from them. It's entirely up to them. I'm absolutely happy to do what's needed," she told Newshub. 

She was shunted for her deputy Dr Shane Reti as he is the party's health spokesperson. 

"He's our health spokesperson, but he'll get it anyway because he's also a medical doctor who has prescribing rights and duties, so he clearly will get it before me," Collins said. 

If the political leaders of the world don't spin your wheels, the Government plans to rollout celebrity endorsements too. The success of the vaccine is very much a case of the more the merrier.