23 Jul 2021

New Covid-19 vaccine booking hotline goes live

3:04 pm on 23 July 2021

There was a hiccup in the rollout of the Ministry of Health's new Covid-19 vaccine booking hotline this morning.

Close up of man with face mask typing text messages on smartphone sitting in workplace during coronavirus.

An error meant people in Wellington were not able to use the vaccine booking line when it went live this morning. (File image) Photo: 123RF

The service aims to reach people in group 3 who qualify for a Covid-19 vaccination but still have not received an invitation.

On social media, people in Wellington were saying they were wrongly being told they could not use the service.

Callers like Estelle Henrys were told the Capital and Coast DHB was not signed up to the service.

"It was kind of misinformation, not their fault, but I thought they're going to get inundated from people all over New Zealand and it seemed that Wellington people couldn't use that number."

The Capital and Coast DHB said it was signed up, but an error by the ministry meant people were not able to use the vaccine booking line when it went live this morning.

Call centre staff did not have access to a booking code for the region, but it is understood that has now been corrected.

The call centres have been calling some people back to book them in for their Covid-19 vaccine shots.

Data shows only about 12 percent of group 3 are currently fully vaccinated.

The 0800 number (0800 28 29 26) will operate from 8am until 8pm, seven days a week. More than 650 team members will be rostered throughout the day, working in shifts.

Those who are in group 3 and can book their vaccinations include people who are 65 or over, people who have an underlying health condition, those who are disabled or caring for someone who is disabled, or pregnant women.

"There's a team of more than 1300 advisors, working in shifts, ready to take calls. They are supported by paramedics and nurses who can answer any clinical questions," said Jo Gibbs, national director of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"They'll be happy to help with translation services if you need them - they have access to more than 150 languages."

Bookings to the 60-plus age band will open on 28 July, which is also when the online booking tool, Book My Vaccine, will be available.

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