New Zealand’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out will significantly expand from today, with the first segment of 2 million people in group 4 becoming eligible.
Up until now, border workers, frontline workers, the vulnerable and those aged over 65 – people in the first three groups – have been the priority. People over the age of 60 will now also be eligible. The remainder of group 4 – those aged 16 and over – will become eligible later in the year.
The roll-out has faced criticism for being slow compared to other countries, with New Zealand sitting at the bottom of the OECD for vaccinations administered per population.
But prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she is proud of the progress so far, adding that the programme is the most significant vaccination programme the health system has ever undertaken.
Roughly 1.7 million first doses have been administered in New Zealand, and 699,479 have had a second dose.
“Over the last week there has been a 40 percent increase in the number of vaccines administered, 204,943 in the past seven days with that number set to keep rising,” Ardern said.
“So far we are running according to our plans. In some cases we are performing over and above where we thought we would be.”
She said the recent arrival of large vaccine deliveries will allow health officials to ramp up the roll-out.