Update - Wednesday 3 February 2021

COVID-19 Local Government Response Unit main page

Covid-19 Vaccination update

As you may have seen, today Medsafe gave provisional consent to use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health will now provide advice to Government setting out who are most suited to receive the vaccine, such as occupational groups and age ranges.

Provisional approval is not uncommon. It means the pharmaceutical company must meet certain conditions, including supplying more data from its clinical trials around the world. This will happen at the same time as the vaccine is rolled out. The annual influenza vaccine is given provisional approval for the same reason.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines will arrive in New Zealand by the end of March. The Government is making sure everything is in place in case of an earlier arrival. Their first focus will be to vaccinate our border and managed isolation and quarantine workers, which is about 12,000 people, plus the people they live with. Once vaccination of this group starts, they expect it to be completed within 2 to 3 weeks. 

Vaccines are expected to be available for the general public in the second half of the year.

The Vaccine FAQ and Ministry of Health key messages (attached) can be used by your spokespeople and staff.

For more information visit the Unite Against COVID-19 website vaccine page.

Those looking for an easy way to stay up to date with vaccine information should sign up to the vaccine email newsletter. This will provide regular updates on all key decisions and stages of the vaccination programme.

Sign up on COVID-19 Government website