1 million Pfizer vaccine doses to be delivered in July

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 8 Jun 2021, 4:03PM

1 million Pfizer vaccine doses to be delivered in July

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 8 Jun 2021, 4:03PM

Pfizer has confirmed that about 1 million doses of its vaccine will be delivered to New Zealand during July.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the deliveries at the post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon.

"The doses will arrive in weekly drops, ramping up in quantity from mid-July as we start to move to the wider population roll out," Hipkins said.

"The drops will enable us to continue vaccinating Groups 1, 2 and 3, while giving us the certainty needed to start the general population rollout [from the end of July] as planned."

DHBs can start to ramp up the rollout through Group 3 from mid-July, he said, which included those over the age of 65, and people with disabilities and some underlying health conditions.

Last Wednesday, at the last vaccine rollout update, director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said there were about 260,000 doses in stock, and weekly deliveries for the rest of June were expected to be around 50,000.

At the current rate of about 20,000 vaccines being administered a day, stocks will be low - or almost all gone - by the end of the month.

Hipkins said work was "well advanced" to set up more vaccination sites, mass vaccination events, and bring more GPs and pharmacies on-board to help with the rollout.

"While we know the ongoing pandemic can impact vaccine delivery schedules, Pfizer has given us further assurances that the remaining deliveries for 2021 are also on track, just as their deliveries to date have been."

Earlier today Hipkins said the biggest gaps in vaccinations among border workers - who are meant to be at the front of the queue - were at ports.

He was commenting on figures release to the Weekend Herald showing 3800 non-MIQ border workers are yet to have a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

It's unclear how many of them are subject to a public health order, which requires all MIQ workers and all Government employees at the border to be fully vaccinated in order to work on the front lines.

Port workers were lower risk than airport workers, Hipkins said, but he noted the port engineer who caught Covid-19 at the workplace last year.

"The length of time it takes for a ship to get here obviously reduces the risk, but it's not no risk."

Air NZ said at the weekend that 21 per cent of its frontline workers are yet to have a single vaccine dose, but Hipkins said many of them were involved in transtasman flights, which were lower risk.

"There's a lot of work going on just to follow through those last groups, but the ports certainly seem far too low. That's an area where there's definite need for more attention.

"We want to see higher rates."

The Government also wants an estimated 50,000 household contacts of border workers to be fully vaccinated to create a vaccinated safety barrier at the border.

But only half of them have had at least one vaccine jab.

Figures released to the Weekend Herald also show about 1100 workers at the border who are not getting tested within the required timeframe.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also confirmed to the Weekend Herald a non-compliance rate of 4 per cent for MIQ workers getting tested regularly. This translates to about 180 MIQ workers.

The rate for non-MIQ border workers was 14 per cent - or about 930 workers.

The Health Ministry said about a third of them were less than four days overdue when they were tested, and because it took a few days to update the border worker testing register, some of them might well have been tested within the required timeframe.