Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in New Zealand next week, earlier than expected.
Ardern and senior ministers have given a briefing on the country’s coronavirus vaccination programme.
“We should be in a position, providing all goes well, to start vaccinating border workers from next Saturday,” Ardern said.
Over the next two to three weeks, 12,000 workers should be vaccinated, followed by their household contacts. The next priority will be healthcare and essential workers, along with most at-risk groups, in the second quarter of the year.
“It’s going to take all the year to reach everyone,” Ardern said.
Deliveries are expected near weekly, with a batch in the low tens of thousands delivered within the first consignment.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the first batch would be enough to cover all border workers.
“Our advance purchase agreement has us getting just under quarter of a million [courses] in the first quarter. That is going to come in waves.”
The remaining courses will be split of the following two quarters, he said.