30 Aug 2021

Bookings will not be cancelled, govt says, as Covid-19 vaccine supply tightens

From Checkpoint, 5:22 pm on 30 August 2021

The government is promising people will not have their Covid-19 vaccination appointments cancelled as pressure comes on supply.

There is not enough of the Pfizer vaccine at the moment to keep up with the massive demand.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint that if extra supply cannot be found, the system could still deliver up to 65,000 doses a day, but not the peaks of up to 90,000.

Hipkins said the government is trying to source more vaccine from other countries.

He said the government is exploring all avenues to see if it can get more in weekly delivery through September.

“We might not be doing all the walk-ins and drive-throughs we’re doing at the moment. Our booking system is absolutely running hot, but it's also been designed so that we would never have to cancel bookings.”

Hipkins said at this point there is no Astra Zeneca or Janssen in the country.

He said more hospitalisations in the Delta outbreak are possible.

“The feedback that we're getting from health teams is that the rate of illness from this current outbreak is higher than the rate of illness that we've seen in previous outbreaks so people who are getting sick are getting sicker than they have been in previous outbreaks. So it is possible that we will see more hospitalisations.”

With lockdown level 4 for two more weeks and potentially more restrictions after that, as well as school holidays coming up, Hipkins acknowledged parents in Auckland should be prepared to be having their children at home for about two months, if you include the time already under lockdown.

“We are doing everything we can to try and support our families to ensure that their kids can continue to learn from home... Of course we do start to get up closer to school holidays, and people will be doing the maths.

“We did do some movement of the school holidays last year, but that's not something we've considered at this point.”