Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals details of general population COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed that the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out to the generation population will begin on July 28 and that it will be staggered in age bands. 

Here's what we know:

These live updates have finished. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals details of general population COVID-19 vaccine roll-out
Photo credit: Supplied
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveals details of general population COVID-19 vaccine roll-out
Photo credit: Supplied

1:25pm - Ardern says the Government wants to help Fiji, where a COVID-19 outbreak is currently unfolding. The island nation has just announced 121 new coronavirus cases.

Ardern said the Government has already put $40 million towards helping Fiji and will donate AstraZeneca vaccines when Medsafe approves it in New Zealand.

She said the Government is not donating Pfizer jabs to Fiji because the island nation has requested AstraZeneca doses. Therefore, New Zealand is working with Australia to get some vaccines donated to Fiji in the meantime. 

1:20pm - National's COVID-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop says the Government is trying to make Kiwis believe the vaccine roll-out is a success.

"This was meant to be the 'Year of the Vaccine' but just like the 'Year of Delivery' resulted in the KiwiBuild and light rail fiasco, the vaccination roll-out is failing.

"We are dead last in the OECD in terms of vaccinations administered per 100 people, and 120th in the world. Far from being at the front of the queue, we are at the back."

Bishop says the Government needs to be more prepared.

"Our front-line border workers were meant to have been vaccinated by the end of March. Yet here we are in mid-June and thousands have yet to get a single shot.

"The national booking system is still not ready to go, the government has no real targets, DHBs don't know how many of their staff have been vaccinated, and the Government keeps moving the goalposts back to accommodate their repeated failures to meet loose targets.

"The vaccine rollout is critical for opening New Zealand up to the rest of the world. The Government must get this right."

1:15pm - Ardern says she feels "good" about being vaccinated on Friday and that she's looking forward to receiving it alongside her chief science advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard.

Ardern described it as "really special" to be vaccinated alongside the woman who has advised her on COVID-19.

1:08pm - Since the booking system is not yet up and running, Dr Bloomfield says District Health Boards are still running bookings for over-65s. He said he is confident the new booking system will be able to manage high demand. 

1:07pm - Ardern says work is in progress on vaccine passports and the Government will have more to say, particularly in relation to making sure New Zealand aligns with the likes of Australia. 

1:05pm - Ardern says plans are "quite far along" on where mass vaccine events will take place, but she can't yet say where they will be. She said thousands of people per day could get jabs at these events.

1:04pm - Ardern has defended the slow roll-out to over-65s, saying it was a million people and that there is no end date – they will be able to come forward and get their vaccine whenever it suits them. 

1:03pm - Ardern says a decision hasn't been made yet on whether people will need to be vaccinated to enter New Zealand, but she noted how a large number of European countries are requiring it. 

Ardern said she expects New Zealanders would support it, and that it would "unusual" if it didn't end up that way. 

1:01pm - Experts are being asked to consider what a wider vaccination roll-out will mean for opening up the border, Ardern said. She said modelling is being worked on, but it's currently too soon to say. 

Ardern said the more people who get vaccinated, the more chance there is that the border will be opened up. However, there is the added risk of variants developing overseas. 

1pm - Ardern says 'walk-ins' are being discouraged, now that approval has been given for vaccines to be stored for longer periods. 

"We are discouraging walk-ins."

12:57pm - Ardern says the current criteria on applying to get a vaccine before your age band is called upon "well could" loosen up. 

Kiwis can currently apply for an early vaccine based on compassionate grounds or if they're representing New Zealand overseas. 

12:55pm - Ardern says there is no clear evidence yet on whether a booster shot will be necessary, but she expects it will be similar to the flu, where the vaccine is updated each year as the virus mutates. 

12:53pm - Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says he's expecting a decision from medicine regulator Medsafe within the next week or two about approval for Janssen's vaccine in New Zealand.

The Government has invested in a portfolio of four vaccines, including 5 million from Janssen, 3.8 million from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and 5.36 million from Novavax.

12:49pm - Ardern says Kiwis will receive an invitation from the Ministry of Health to get a vaccine. You'll be able to book it using a new tool called Book My vaccine, where you'll be able to choose a suitable location and time.

12:47pm - Ardern says it will take until the end of the year to vaccinate everyone who is eligible, because the bulk of vaccines won't arrive until October. 

12:41pm - Ardern says the vaccine roll-out will be done in age cohorts. 

  • Kiwis can use a national booking system or a national calling centre. 
  • This will begin on July 28, for those aged 60 and over. 
  • From August 11, Kiwis aged 50 and over will be invited to get vaccinated. 
  • From there, the roll-out is "indicative". 
  • The Government "broadly" expects those aged 45 and over to be invited to have a jab from late August. 
  • Everyone else will be vaccinated from October. 

12:38pm - Ardern has given an update on vaccine roll-out:

  • From the end of July, a new phase will begin in the roll-out.
  • Pfizer will deliver vaccines weekly, and will give four weeks' notice.
  • The bulk of vaccines will be received in October and the roll-out will be staggered.

12:33pm - Ardern is speaking to reporters. She says she'll lay out the process and timeframe for the vaccine campaign for everyone 16 years and over from the second half of the year. 

12:25pm - The Government has extended the travel bubble pause with the Australian state of Victoria until midnight on Tuesday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced.

"New Zealand health officials will keep a close watch on developments in the state but at this point their advice is that we would expect to be in a position to lift the pause at the end of the five-day extension. This will reviewed if the situation changes.

"There are now 100 cases associated with the outbreak in the greater Melbourne area, spread across all clusters. The most recent report of a case being infectious in the community was 8 June, until the case announced this week of a nurse who may have worked a hospital shift while infectious."

Officials will be keeping a close eye on cases announced on Wednesday in New South Wales which appear to have a clear link to the border.

12:20pm - The Ministry of Health's daily update has revealed no new community cases of COVID-19 in New Zealand, but two new cases in managed isolation. 

A person with an "indeterminate" test result for COVID-19 in Stewart Island is under investigation to determine whether they are a case or not. A subsequent repeat test was negative.

12:15pm - The latest data from the Ministry of Health shows the vaccine roll-out is currently on track with the Government's plan. It shows 567,188 doses have been administered, with 324,514 second doses given, meaning they're fully vaccinated. 

11:50pm - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will give a "vaccine update" at 12:30pm in Auckland where she's expected to give more details about the general population roll-out.