Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announces the first mass vaccination event in New Zealand, to be held in Manukau, Auckland.
One in five Kiwi adults have now had their first dose of the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine, according to newly released vaccine statistics.
This rate trails much of the rest of the rich world.
And while almost every frontline health worker or rest home resident in group 2 has had a dose of the vaccine (96 per cent) – about a third are still not fully vaccinated, despite the Government initially planning for that roll-out to finish by June.
Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins released the new data on Wednesday afternoon, revealing that Pfizer had advised the Government it would send another 1.5 million doses in August – enough for 750,000 people.
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A Covid-19 vaccine is administered.
Just over 1.4m doses have now been administered of the Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine in New Zealand, with 564,789 people receiving their second dose and 839,554 receiving their first.
That means around 20 per cent of the eligible 16+ population have had one dose and 13.5 per cent of the same population are fully protected.
In Australia, where two vaccines are in use instead of one, a larger proportion of eligible adults have had their first dose (33.5 per cent) while fewer have had their second (11.5 per cent).
Other rich countries that had far worse pandemics now have far higher rates of vaccination: Just under 70 per cent of the total Canadian population has had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, 67.5 per cent of the UK, and 55 per cent of the US.
Of the roughly 1.7 million Kiwis who are over 65 or likely to get very ill from Covid-19 in group 3, just under 150,000 have been fully vaccinated, while over 250,000 have had their first dose.
As of Monday just over 1.6m doses of the vaccine had been received from Pfizer, with 380,000 doses arriving in July thus far. The Government expects to receive another 620,000 doses this month and another 1.5m in August, which would bring the total stock to 3.7m by September, enough to vaccinate 1.85m people.
The “general roll-out” is beginning from the end of July, but all Kiwi adults aren’t expected to be able to access the vaccine until October, when the entire 10 million dose order is expected to have arrived.
Hipkins said on Wednesday Cabinet would make a decision in August on whether to extend the Pfizer vaccine eligibility to 12-16 year olds, as well as how to use the 2 million doses of the Janssen vaccine it has agreed to purchase. MedSafe has provided provisional approval to both.
He also announced the first “mass vaccination” event would be in Auckland at the end of the month, with plans to vaccinate 15,000 people in one weekend.