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Government releases timeline for COVID-19 vaccine rollout; Lowest-risk portion of the population to start being vaccinated in July, following border workers, health workers, the elderly and people living in high-risk locations

Government releases timeline for COVID-19 vaccine rollout; Lowest-risk portion of the population to start being vaccinated in July, following border workers, health workers, the elderly and people living in high-risk locations

The Government has provided the following information detailing the sequencing of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout:

Click on magnifying glass icon at top right corner of table to zoom in.

Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said: “Our plan is clear - first protect those most at risk of picking up the virus in their workplace, reducing the risk of future outbreaks and lockdowns and then protecting those most at risk of getting seriously ill if they get the virus...

“This is a balanced plan that prioritises reducing the chance of future outbreaks while protecting our elders, those with underlying health conditions and those who live in locations where we know outbreaks have occurred.  

“We are asking all New Zealanders to get vaccinated."

The Pfizer/BioNTech is the vaccine that's available in New Zealand - for free. It requires two doses.

 “An online tool that helps people find out when they can get the vaccine will be launched shortly. It describes the four broad groups and will take people through a series of questions to work out when it’ll be their turn," Hipkins said.

“There are two further categories we are still looking at: one for people who may need to get a vaccine on compassionate grounds; and a national significance category, which could include groups who need a vaccine in order to represent New Zealand overseas.

“Decisions around these categories will be made at Cabinet in coming weeks.”

See Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern answer questions on the issue from the Opposition in the House here:

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All assuming that the nurses are not on strike over their insulting 1% wage offer.

Chris... we need to offer much more to ensure we achieve the important task of having at least 99% of our nursing positions filled by NZ citizens within 5 years. We did it in the past so time to stop taking the easy option and do what is right for our country.

The two major objectives of our immigration policy are.
1 perpetuate the speculative housing bubble
2 push down wages

Who's interests are the politicians of both major parties serving?

chris.. well said

Ha! 5years! That is a pipe dream! I'm an RN in an acute hospital ward, over the past 4 years I would say our RNs have gone from about 90% NZ citizen to below 65%.
Lots of internationally qualified Nurses come to work in aged care on the skill shortage list then go to the DHBs as soon as they can due to better pay and conditions.
If they want 99% of nurses to be NZ citizens, they need to make aged care waaaaay more attractive and offer more graduate entry to practice positions (which the CDHB have just cut by 60%!).

Wow we have 700k people over 65, and another 700k with underlying health conditions.

I wonder if Ricardo M M will try to jump the queue on this one too claiming to have cancer? Cancer of the soul?

So when international bubbles reopen with AU etc, is the vaccine going to be mandatory to avoid quarantine?

I think they're considering making it mandatory for non-citizens. Going to be a hard sell if the latest survey is correct and only 51% of people responded to actually wanting to receive it

The vaccine is not relevant to a travel bubble. It's only 95% effective, at it's absolute best. The 5% chance the vaccine will not be effective against the disease is too high not to quarantine.
With everyone vaccinated the numbers falling seriously ill and dying should be reduced to something way more tolerable. And herd immunity might be high enough that infection chain dies out with minimal NPIs.

The travel bubble has always been about opening NZ up to additional risk of transmission from Australia, but doing so because the benefits outweigh the risks.

Thus, a 95% effective vaccine (which is VERY HIGH by historical standards) is a way to substantially reduce the risk from a travel bubble, that was always expected to have risk. In other words, substantial vaccine rollout will make a big difference to the desire to have a travel bubble.

I don't think lowering the risk by an order of magnitude changes anything. What's your magic number of daily cases Aussie would have to reach before the risk is lower enough to let them in now without the vaccine (you can now times that by 10 or 20). Did it cross the threshold? Our governments number is zero.

Once the vaccine campaigns in both countries are completed, which is what you are comparing this against with other vaccines, the R number should be low enough in Aussie that their community cases go away and the travel bubble is all go. Then immunity passports don't matter.

If you actually read the article its pretty tough to believe that 95% effective means that 95 percent will never shed the virus (this was never confirmed in the Pharmaceutical companies' studies).
If you don't like zero hedge here's some of the sources.

Uh Oh... would have guessed we can go without vaccination or quarantine. I think the main point with things of this nature is that we should not be in a position where we are guessing, it should planned and clearly laid out for us months before it happens. An early, flexible and specific plan. Now there is an idea.

Damn, I thought general population was meant to be Q2? Looks like it's slipped to Q3.

It was always Q3 but the vaccine plan has changed because the single shot didn't work out. That means twice the work. As you can see other countries have made very slow work of their rollouts.

I'll be surprised if the intention was 'always Q3' given we were "at the front of the queue".

Annoyingly the SMH vaccine tracker doesn't seem to recognise New Zealand in their list of countries, but it looks like others are doing a lot better than we are.

E: It doesn't seem to show percentages or who started when either, which is unhelpful. We also seem to be posting our numbers once a week while others are updating more regularly.

My main concern is a partner who will be in hospital soon and going through a process that I would rather not have her family unable to assist with as a result of lockdown. I've been told I can't join her for some appointments even at L2, so slippage in this area is frustrating.

GV...CNN covid 19 vaccine tracker has everything incl NZ and yeah situations like yours are why we should have been trying to vaccinate everyone asap.
Hope your partner is OK.

She is fine, we are spawning in late May - I think I'd be OK at L3/L4 but parents etc would be out of the question which is unfortunate. I think the health boards learned a lot from the first L4 lockdown about not having women on their own for this sort of thing so protocols may well change now that we have a firm vaccine plan.

Don't know what you mean by "the single shot didn't work out".

The government seems to have decided to go with Pfizer for PR and simplicity reasons.

Also note that the J&J study showing lower effectiveness than Pfizer was done in an environment where the UK and SA variants are spreading, whereas the earlier Pfizer and Moderna trials were done against the 'main' strain earlier. So actually if the J&J trial had been done at the same time it likely would have reported better figures than what it has done, and if the Pfizer and Moderna trials were re-run now they'd likely produce worse results.

What is the fatality rate for Covid? 0.05? What is the efficacy of the vaccine? 95%? So it's 100x more likely you get the vaccine and it doesn't work, than you get Covid and you die.
So fear of the virus should be dialled back to about a hundredth of the euphoria of the vaccine.


There's a term for this: abuse of statistics.

Let me take a wild guess: you're in group 4.

Strange logic. Fatality rate probably higher than 0.05% in a fairly old and overweight country like NZ, more like 0.2%. A 95% effective vaccine applied to most of the population will ensure herd immunity and stop the virus in its tracks, barring any variant issues. A 0.2% fatality rate applied to most of the population would mean up to 10,000 dead. You are not comparing apples with apples.

It's not just death, either. My mate (healthy, early 30s) in London caught Covid almost a year ago and still can't smell.

I like to smell.

Cheers, that is the argument I have been making, it is not just the risk of dying, but the possible long term effects of COVID may be significant if it doesn't kill you. Some evidence of this around trhe world.

But thinking language now and the idiosyncrasies of English, you statement made me smile (deviant sense of humour). 1st thought - so he doesn't have to wash now? Second thought - he likes to let people know he is around! (if you're a gym goesr, you'l know what I mean)

murray86 - genuine question - have you seen any data about the numbers of long term covid effects? Friends in UK have had a mixed response, with those that had it worst (but not necessarily needing hospital care) having longer term effects more than those who had mild covid.
Normal aging can cause a loss of smell too, particularly after age 60. So in this age group it would need to be ascertained if they had some loss of smell prior to getting covid.

I don't recall one article that covers it all, but they are scattered and generally focused on one area. Today the NZ Herald runs THIS article on scientists trying to figure out why the sense of smell is affected by COVID. In another I noted that COVID is identified as causing significant heart muscle damage in survivors, and there are a few which mention lung damage. Other organs get mentioned in other articles but not to the same extent.

My son, 45, in London got Covids also a year ago, not badly enough for hospitalisation but quite sick at home for two weeks. Also doesn't have his taste which is associated with smell.

If Covid was going to kill you your chances of dying go from 100% to 5% with the vaccine.

it seems to be better than that in fact. 95% efficacy is measured WRT risk of symptomatic disease . Based on limited data thus far efficacy WRT preventing risk of death seems to be above 99%.

"In high income countries, the estimated overall infection fatality ratio (IFR) is 1.15% (95% prediction interval 0.78-1.79)." - Imperial College, London.

Of course that's of you have enough medical staff and ventilators. As Italy showed that rate can get much higher if you over-run the capacity of your hospitals. This was the issue in the UK for the "herd immunity" plan they where touting early on, they just didn't have enough hospital capacity. It would have taken years of lockdown/easing cycles for the rate to be reduced.

Appears logically constructed. In particular a move to inoculate generally where outbreaks have occurred in Auckland is sensible, once all border workers and families have been done. Now approaching the time when it will become necessary to be evaluating the ongoing risk posed to all, by those that are unwilling to be vaccinated

It's a free society, people have a choice. We shouldn't allow a minority delay the resumption of normal border operations.

My guess is that a few cases among the unvaccinated will spur most of the others to come forwards.

Free society also reserves the right to put the anti-vaxxers into leper colonies for the greater good, if needs be.

So anyone who doesn't have a vaccination is an anti-vaxxer and should be put in a leper colony, does that include all children under 16yrs, or should they all be forcibly vaccinated Lanthanide? Perhaps you chose the wrong country to immigrate to.

"Most adults will be eligible for this vaccine. However, some may need to avoid it for safety reasons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that people do not get the Pfizer vaccine if they have had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, e.g., to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate.
Side effects are more common after the second dose than the first dose."

So anyone who doesn't have a vaccination is an anti-vaxxer and should be put in a leper colony, does that include all children under 16yrs, or should they all be forcibly vaccinated Lanthanide?

I'm not going to respond to such a blatant strawman argument.

Perhaps you chose the wrong country to immigrate to.

Difficult to immigrate to a country you were born in.

My bad re assuming you are an immigrant. Thanks for correction

The key lesson from other countries about success/failure is not to get too hung up on eligibility criteria, maximising efficiency is far more important. Germany and France have enforced very strict criteria so have empty vaccination centres and warehouses of vaccines whereas the UK and Israel have adopted an approach of trying to use 100% of available capacity so have tended to find they are only limited by supply.

The overarching goal is to vaccinate as many as possible as fast as possible.

This should be made the comment of the year.

Exectly right and there is zero chance the deadlines will be met with this high level of complexity.

There are enough vaccines, good job, just get cracking and use them.

History will show that the worst performers in the vaccination metrics will be the countries who tried really hard to be 'fair'.

"Complexity is the enemy of execution."

These guys couldn't execute their way out of a wet paper bag. So confidence is high.

NZ is going down the UK path, they had a phased approach (actually MUCH more detailed than ours) and also used up vaccines wherever possible.

Hipkins today said we've already started to blur the lines between groups because the goal is to ensure vaccine is used where it can be and not let it go to waste.

Squishy..exactly. I said the other days that I think one of their biggest mistakes is over prioritizing. And I still want to hear someone ask Hippo which countries they collaborated with to gain information about how to roll it out as fast as possible and to help identify any possible problems before they occurred.

Our published prioritization is much less strict than the UK or Oz.

Not sure if we are the only ones, but my wife and I are over 65, both healthy and looking forward to heading to OZ for a holiday. We don't want to get vaccinated and then have to prove we have had this in order to get a vaccine passport at a later stage. We plan on waiting until we get the jab and the passport at the same time as I can't imagine that the paperwork for those getting vaccinated won't get lost, forcing us to get re-vaccinated.

Cynical condemnation concerning the inefficiency of our bureaucracy, as relative here but generally too I would suspect. Regrettably, I can only agree whole heartedly.

Today in an annual review of the ministry of health, Hipkins and Bloomfield said a big part of the vaccination programme was getting the IT systems ready to deal with it. In December they had the database up and working, so that everyone who gets a vaccine is correctly recorded. Thus this data can then be used later for passport etc purposes.

You don't have to worry about 'paperwork getting lost' necessitating a second vaccine. If it happened to you, it would happen to tens of thousands of others, and be a huge scandal for the government. Sure it's not impossible, but the government knows what is at stake.

Another module they're working on is a booking and a recall system, to call people back for their 2nd vaccine after ~3 weeks. This is expected to be completed by the end of March, allowing us to start vaccinating a much wider array of people.

Sounds good, and in all sincerity, hope it all goes just as good!

Off topic but.... "This also includes people who are pregnant"

Women get pregnant. Not people. This is either laziness or and attempt at using 'inclusive' language.

Either way, not really worth the effort of worrying or getting offended about

Women are people. Holy moly, what a comment, jumping at shadows.

What do you want? "Women who are not sterile, who have a uterus, who are pre menopausal who are also pregnant, who are past puberty..." doesn't make much sense does it. The level of specificity is clearly irrelevant.

Seems you took the bait. JRSNZ is actually just being transphobic.

For decades I have heard medical experts and government officials tell us that it takes years to produce safe vaccines, stages 1, 2, 3, for side effects etc and now we are being sold on a six month product . I have had vaccines, they save lives but many people I have spoken to have the concern that this is too rushed to bring to market. Also I have not fact checked this but has this vaccine completed the full due diligence re trials. I remain open minded to further information.

Correct, the covid vaccines have had their approval expedited pretty much worldwide and they haven't had to go through the rigourous testing normally expected. Usually vaccines go through long periods of testing (multiple years) for long term effects to become known and also to test that immunity remains. It's also the first RNA vaccine to be approved for use in humans (though these have been used in animals for decades).

Fine don't get vaccinated then. You can stay right here in NZ for the next how many years and enjoy the heard immunity provided by the hopefully 90% or more of the citizenry that enjoy overseas travel and are not morons.

Fascinating how uptight some people can be on this subject. Nothing I said was incorrect.

It was, actually.

mRNA vaccines have been used in humans in small clinical trials for cancer for over a decade. If there was anything obviously wrong with them, we'd know by now. This is the first mRNA vaccine rolled out en-masse to the public.

They also did all Phase 1-3 trials for the COVID vaccines, however these were done overlapping, so they'd start phase 2 before phase 1 was complete, and start phase 3 before phase 2 was complete, because of the urgency.

You're right that long-term safety tests weren't done - but the approaches for the vaccines are all based on sound and well-proven bodies of work, that is largely how they were able to develop them so quickly in the first place. The other thing that wasn't done was monitoring for whether the vaccines would stop transmission or not - that's normally part of vaccine studies but was skipped due to urgency, and hence why we (still) can't say for certain that the vaccines stop transmission, although latest evidence from Isral and UK is they're going to be something like 60-90% effective at stopping transmission.

Nothing in your comment accounted for the money involved, either. Vaccine development is usually slow because there's not a huge amount of money in it - they're focussing on niche diseases, so need to charge a lot of money per dose to make up for the investment. With COVID, countries were throwing billions of dollars at the pharmaceutical companies to get a solution - that by itself makes them put more resources - both personnel and factories - to producing the vaccine. Because governments were funding a lot of this stuff up-front, and the companies stood to make billions from sales, as well as develop brand new technologies (mRNA vaccines) they could use for other diseases, development was faster for COVID than other diseases historically. Don't forget that we also had a head-start from SARS and MERS virus and vaccine research that was done after those outbreaks, we weren't starting from a completely blank slate.

I didn't say they haven't been used, I said they haven't been approved for use in humans. As in, they have been trialed previously and for whatever reason, not proceeded through to approval.

Er, so you think when they give cancer treatments to humans, they haven't been approved for use in humans? That's not how cancer treatment works.

The only shortcut around getting approval for treatments is when someone is treating themselves with something they invented / worked on.

Genuine question - would you rather catch Covid or take the risk on the vaccine? How risky would a vaccine have to be to outweigh the protection we know it affords?

Sure. I'd rather wait until the vaccine passes all the tests a vaccine would normally pass before being approved for use in humans before I take it. Given your binary choice, I'd probably rather catch Covid. In all likelihood I will not do either.

To answer your second question, neither the risks nor the benefits are adequately understood for me to make a judgement. Recall that Thalidomide was once prescribed for morning sickness.

I can understand the reservations, although I don't share them. The history of medical misadventure is unfortunate. For me, I'm very confident there will be no significant short term impacts as trials have been performed and 300+ million have received doses in anger without any unexpected issues I'm aware of.

It's impossible to prove that there will be no long term impacts without waiting for them to develop. From my quite limited research it seems most historic vaccination issues have been theoretical or due to accidental inclusion of live disease which would presumably quickly become apparent. I'm very open to any stories of previous delayed impact issues with vaccines.

I'm weighing this against the risk of not vaccinating the world, which would likely result in a few million more deaths and significantly more morbidity and economic impacts. The vaccine wins for me, so for logical consistency I would certainly take it myself and expect to do so in the next month or two as a healthcare worker.

mfd, my father in Spain has had his vaccine the same as we are getting and all is well. He is 84. Now he can't wait to go to his favourite cafe and have a congac.

Likewise my parents in the UK. They're in their 70s so the vaccine is a clear winner in any risk/benefit analysis. No issues for them either, just waiting for their boosters before doing much more than the supermarket trip.

Check this out.
In the above plan they have cleverly overlapped the months for each group. But lets say conservatively 1.8 mln to be vaccinated by end of June. From now 112 days until June 30th. That is 32000 doses needed per day Among this first group are the aged,in-firmed,immobile. Tui billboard coming up.
We need to be using large scale venues like sports stadiums with parking for hundreds of cars and adjacent to public transport infrastructure.

Westie...Think your maths is out. About 16K per day (112 x 16 000 = (approx) 1.8M). Presuming we have at least several hundred vaccinators throughout the country (which we certainly should have) it is not that many per day per vaccinator. Look at how fast other countries are rolling them out and they have health systems that are fully stretched due to covid. Easy targets but at least they now have a plan.

Everyone is getting a 2 shot Pfizer vaccine. So you need to double that. Also the logistics of getting everyone back within the time window for the second shot.

Those dates mostly aren't deadlines, they're starting dates for that population group.

Of course they are not deadlines. We dont want deadlines.. Then no one knows when we fail to deliver. Even though science agrees that speed is very important with the global roll out.

"We are asking all New Zealanders to get vaccinated"(Chris Hipkins) - right......Medsafe: "But Medsafe has advised no one under 16 should receive the vaccine."

Because trials on children under 16 haven't been completed yet.

Once they're completed, the evidence will be available as to whether the vaccine can be given to those under 16. That data will be available before the end of the year, likely coming sometime in Q2 or Q3.

Once the data is available, MedSafe will assess it and make the appropriate decisions about whether children under 16 should be vaccinated or not.

Perfectly rational and sensible approach to take since NZ isn't in the midst of a raging pandemic like the rest of the world is.

Some good info thanks Lanthanide

So unless my maths is wrong they are only expecting to vaccinate 4m people- 1m opting out?

The numbers currently exclude people under the age of 16 because the vaccine safety hasn't been proven yet for that cohort.

Data on safety for this demographic will be available later in the year.

A few weeks ago i mentally said Sep/Oct would be when NZ would be vaccinating. Not too far off. I'll postpone mine past group3 and wait to see if there's a choice in vaccines. Preference at the moment is Astra-Zeneca but that may change in 3 months once better knowledge on the SA variant.

So far we have been vaccinating for 18 days. MOH advised 18000 first doses given so far, average 1000 per day. To fully vaccinate 4 million people with a 2 doses vaccine we need to average 27000 shots per day for the remaining 295 days until 31st December. Apparently the tourism minister has stated publicly that our borders will not open even to Australia until we have 70% herd immunity. There is a lot riding on this

Mountains of evidence in favour of Ivermectin now. So much so that clinicians are pleading with law makers and politicians

Pat - Ivermectin has been discredited. By the science and medical community.

You really do talk nonsense. If you click on the link you'll see that Ivermectin is proven effective by stringent meta analysis of randomised controlled trials. That is the highest water mark of scientific truth and medical efficacy.

Thanks for that Herald pseudo science paraphrasing propaganda. I prefer to look straight at the randomized double blind clinical trials. Ivermectin is effective, it's safe apparently at 10x the therapeutic dose, and it's dirt cheap. It wont be long before the whole world is using it.

You'll have my apologies if that happens Pat. If it's adopted through rigorous procedure, evidence based science and medicinal trials with stringent peer approval.

Until then. By the way, out of curiosity - are you in the field of science or epidemiology? Medicine? Or do you have a vested interest in Ivermectin?

Always a good sign when the evidence provided starts with "" instead of "thelancet" or similar.

"appeal to authority" logical fallacy. besides it's a scientist talking about meta analysis. the quality of evidence is, for meta analysis, greater than any single lancet, BMJ or other paper.