26 Jul 2021

Covid-19 vaccine: 1.5 million doses due to arrive in August

9:46 am on 26 July 2021

The government is expecting about 1.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to arrive next month as the vaccination rollout scales up.

A shipment of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine arrives in New Zealand.

New Zealand received 1 million doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine in July. (File image) Photo: Supplied

Bookings to get a vaccine will become available to those in group 4 aged between 60 and 65 from 28 July, but RNZ analysis of vaccination data showed more than 2 million doses still needed to be given to those in group 3.

Group 3 related to anyone who was over 65 or living with a disability or underlying health conditions - in essence the most at-risk of serious symptoms or death as a result of Covid-19 infection.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defended the speed at which the rollout was going, saying the proportion of those in group 3 vaccinated varied between district health boards, and that the group vaccinations could be done concurrently.

"[Group 3] have had a period where they have been able to exclusively book, we now want to start booking in those for the next tranche," Ardern told Morning Report.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

"We'll be broadening the number of [vaccination] sites we have," she said.

"But no-one is going to miss out."

She said this was not about saving face because the government had already committed to this date.

"We've had a 41 percent increase in vaccines over the last week, relative to the week prior, so we are seeing considerable growth.

"This is always the point at which we said our programme would be ramping up.

"We had a million doses delivered in July, the next month [it will be] 1.5 million. We need to continue to book people through the system so we can keep scaling up our programme which is why we continue to roll through those groups."

The latter part of July is when the balance tips, she said, with supply now being less of an issue that it has been.

"Prior to the weekend, we saw from memory about four consecutive days with vaccination numbers over 30,000.

"What we'll start doing next month is start releasing data daily so people can see and track the growth of the vaccine programme."

Last week, a dedicated 0800 number opened up for people in group 3 who qualify for a Covid-19 vaccination but still had not received an invitation.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs