Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1-million doses of vaccine to New Zealand during July, the country’s Covid-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, has announced.
“These consignments will double the total number of Pfizer doses we have received this year to more than 1,900,000 – enough to fully vaccinate almost 1-million Kiwis,” the Minister said.
“This is great news and [it is] reassuring to see our vaccine supply ramping up. It shows our plan for what is the biggest and most complex logistical undertaking ever by the health system is on track.”
Doses scheduled to arrive in weekly drops
According to Hipkins, the doses will arrive in weekly drops, ramping up in quantity from mid-July as New Zealand starts to move to the wider population vaccine rollout.
He said the weekly drops would enable authorities to continue vaccinating the first three priority groups, while giving the certainty needed to start the general population rollout as planned.
“The supplies mean District Health Boards (DHBs) can keep delivering to their plans and start accelerating their way through Group 3 from mid-July – which is everyone over the age of 65 and people with disabilities and some underlying health conditions.
“It’s a group of more than 1-million people and will take time to work through. As we start Group 4, we will significantly ramp up our vaccination efforts.”
Vaccinations should peak at 50,000 daily
Hipkins said around 20,000 doses a day were currently being administered and the Pfizer deliveries throughout July would enable this to increase significantly. At the peak of the programme in August and September, authorities expect to be administering 50,000 doses per day.
“To date, we’ve fully vaccinated over a quarter of a million people. That is a pleasing milestone. Our strategy has meant we’ve largely avoided having to stretch the time between first and second doses – as many countries have.”
“Work is well advanced to set up more vaccination sites, deliver mass vaccination events, and bring more GPs and pharmacies on-board to help with the rollout.”
The Minister noted that while it was obvious the ongoing pandemic could impact vaccine delivery schedules, Pfizer had given assurances that the remaining deliveries for 2021 were also on track, just as their deliveries to date had been.