Coronavirus explainer: When Kiwis can get COVID-19 vaccine, how to book jab

From the end of July, members of the general public will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination, but thousands won't be able to receive a jab until months later.

Since the vaccination campaign began coming together at the start of this year, the Government has said members of group 4 - the bulk of Kiwis who aren't the greatest risk of catching COVID-19 or getting seriously ill if they do - will be able to get vaccinated from July.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern provided more detail about the rollout, revealing that vaccines will be administered by age cohorts with the aim to have every eligible Kiwi vaccinated by the end of the year. 

A key reason the vaccinations will be paced out is because doses of the jab will still be being delivered as we go. New Zealand will receive the bulk of the supply by the end of October.

"We've landed on age bands, because it is a simple approach most commonly used overseas and because the risk of COVID increases as you get older," Ardern said.

"Once your age band is announced, there is no cut-off. You can be vaccinated from that time on, at any time. But the sooner the better."

From July 28, anyone over the age of 60 will be eligible for a vaccine. Bookings for the next age band - those over 55 - will open on August 11. 

“From here, the rollout is indicative, as we wait for exact details from our supplier,” Ardern said.

However, she did say those aged over 45 will likely be invited to book a vaccine from mid-late August, those over 35 from mid-late September, while everyone else will have to wait until October.

From August, vaccines will also be rolled out towards some workforces which "might otherwise be harder to reach". The Ministry of Health is currently consulting with some large businesses on how to roll this out. Fonterra and Mainfreight are eager to be involved. 

Mass vaccine events will also be held to ensure everyone is being reached. These will be focused on high-risk groups.

"There will also be examples of rural or isolated communities where it just makes sense to vaccinate the entire population at once, such as the Chatham Islands and remote places like Reefton and Tolaga Bay."

Ardern said Kiwis will be contacted when it is their turn.

"When we announce an age band, they'll be able to use our national booking system to book an appointment or contact our national vaccine call centre," Ardern said. 

People will receive an invite via either email, text, mail or by phone. It will ask Kiwis to use BookMyVaccine and choose a location that suits them. They'll be able to book a date and time for the two doses with three weeks in between. A phone line will also be accessible.

Both services will be operating from July 28, in time for the first age cohort. 

Ardern said while health services hold contact details for most people, some Kiwis may not get notified if their information isn't held. 

"That is why we will be making sure we have a solid campaign so people know when they are eligible and they will know how to contact us to book their vaccine if they don't receive their invite."

People can also register their details at the end of July on the online service.