COVID-19: Booking vaccines for five to 11-year-olds not proving easy

COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 are due to roll out on Monday, but it's not proving easy to book a shot, even for the enthusiastic.

There's plenty for tamariki to explore at Tāmaki Vaccination Centre - it's preparing to open on Monday so children aged over five can get a COVID-19 vaccination.

But not everyone is quite so prepared.

Angela Angell is super keen to get six-year-old daughter Madeleine vaccinated as soon as possible so she has protection. But she's having trouble getting her daughter booked in. 

"The pharmacy I rang said they don't know what day they are going to be ready and her GP can't book her in until Friday so it's still not too clear what day she'll be able to get vaccinated," she told Newshub. 

Other providers are not quite ready either. Ngati Hine in Northland is still scaling back up and Waipereia Trust is on summer break.

The Māori Party says there's been a lack of communication and support from the Ministry of Health.

"There's been no one on the ground prepared and aligned and in sync," says Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer. 

"There has been no support and funding given to make sure the comms that's required to do this for this extensive rollout is provided."

Walk-in and drive-through clinics may be the best shot for parents wanting kids to get their vaccine as soon as possible. But not all parents are keen.

A Horizon survey in October found 68 percent of those who care for 5 to 11 year olds would allow them to get a COVID-19 vaccine. It was lower for Māori, at 57 percent. 

But kids who contract COVID-19 are at risk of severe outcomes, including heart inflammation and neurological problems. Vaccinating helps prevent that.

"We know those effects of COVID on five to 11-year-olds are not always guaranteed to be mild, especially for those children that are more vulnerable," says Dr Anthony Jordan, NRHCC Clinical Director. 

The Ministry of Health told Newshub the vaccine will be available around the country from Monday, and that the number of locations will increase over the coming weeks as providers return from their break.

Astrid Koornneef, director of the National Immunisation Programme, said more than 120,000 doses of the paediatric Pfizer vaccine have been delivered to around 500 vaccination sites around New Zealand.

Another 400,000 child doses remain in the national store with new supply arriving from Pfizer weekly.

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.