Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is again denying New Zealand's COVID-19 vaccine rollout is delayed, despite being one of the slowest in the developed world.
All New Zealanders aged 16 and above will have the option to be vaccinated by the end of the year but, so far, only 891,702 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered - with 324,514 people receiving their second dose.
That's well behind many other nations, despite being ahead of the Ministry of Health's target.
"It's not at all delayed," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday. "This is as we anticipated - you'll recall from the very first moment we were talking about our vaccine plan, we were talking about the fact that it would take the best part of a year."
The Government last week revealed the general population will begin getting vaccinated on July 28 and will be staggered in age bands. Ardern said the plan was always to ramp up the rollout from July.
"This week, in the coming days, we'll hit the milestone of 1 million doses having gone out, and when you look at New Zealand's strategy, which is to fully vaccinate people… we're ahead of Japan, we're ahead of Australia - so we're tracking well.
"We've said that we want as many people to be fully vaccinated as possible… we are putting out the doses as quickly as we are receiving them, so we don't get our full amount of doses until October."
Ardern said New Zealand getting all of its ordered Pfizer vaccine by October is actually sooner than expected.
"What we've been told about our delivery schedule, Pfizer has always stuck to.
"It's up to people to come forward and take the opportunity [to get vaccinated]."
Speaking to The AM Show last week, University of Auckland medical professor Des Gorman said he'd be surprised if the rollout was completed by the end of the year.
"I would love to be wrong... but I would be betting against it."