Posted by Richard Willet Posted on 20 October 2020

The Big Read: Three things to know about NZ’s big Covid-19 vaccine roll-out

The roll-out of coronavirus vaccines – when they arrive – will be one of the largest and complex undertakings in the history of public health in New Zealand. What can we say about the operation already? Science reporter Jamie Morton makes three assumptions.

Border workers are likely to be among the first in line

Here’s what we know so far.

New Zealand is likely to have enough doses of a vaccine for at least 750,000 people early to mid next year.

That hinges on it passing the last stage of trials and meeting our own regulations, and more deals are being brokered with other makers that will boost our coverage. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been parked for these pre-agreements, which are complementary to what we’d receive – that’s potentially enough for half the population – through the global Covax Facility.

All the while, Ministry of Health officials are busy laying the groundwork for one of the biggest immunisation programmes in our country’s history.

More than $63m has been set aside for medical supplies like needles, syringes, swabs, freezers and protective equipment. The ministry states: “Ideally, the immunisation programme will achieve sufficient population immunity, and to ensure protection for Māori, Pacific peoples and population groups at particular risk from Covid-19.”

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