Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says jabs begin next week

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed the Pfizer Covid vaccine will arrive in New Zealand next week.

The vaccine will be given to border workers from Saturday of next week, she told reporters today.

Any border workers who refuse the vaccine would not be fired, but they would likely be moved off the front line, Ardern said. However she did not envisage that happening.

Border workers’ household contacts will be the next group to receive jabs.

Ardern said next week’s delivery was ahead of schedule.

“Last year we indicated the vaccine would arrive in quarter two, and earlier this year we updated that to quarter one. It’s pleasing to be receiving doses this early in quarter one,” she said.

“The arrival of our first batch of doses is an important milestone in our fight against COVID-19. We now anticipate further deliveries through quarter one from Pfizer.”

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the first vaccinations to border workers next week.

“Systems and processes are in place for the first vaccinations to start once final checks have been completed,” he said.

“On arrival, the vaccine must be independently tested for quality assurance, which is another important safety check. The doses will then be formally released to start the first phase of the vaccination programme.

“At this stage, we are expecting to start offering the vaccine to our border and MIQ workers on 20th February, with the first immunisations given out to those working in the Auckland region.”

Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield said those administering the vaccine would require two hours of training.

Dedicated teams will be delivering the vaccines to the border workers in their workplace.

After that, officials will be asking the family members come to a specific place to be vaccinated.

Today’s press conference follows a Ministry of Health Covid-19 immunisation business engagement event in Auckland this morning.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, Health Minister Andrew Little and Housing Minister Megan Woods are also at the media briefing.

Earlier this week, Hipkins revealed that more than 2000 health workers are being trained and mobilised in anticipation of the first wave of vaccines landing on New Zealand’s shores.

Ardern and Hipkins have said the first batch of vaccinations will arrive in New Zealand in the first quarter of the year – before the end of March.

But neither has put an exact date as to when the doses are expected to land.

They have, however, said that frontline health workers and their families will be the first to get the jab.

The national rollout will come in the second half of this year.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Hipkins said that being vaccinated will require two jabs three weeks apart and a 30-minute observation period after each injection, like many other vaccines.

Doses will be logged in the new National Immunisation Solution, which will allow health professionals and patients access to records online once fully implemented and track the location, temperature and administration of every vaccine.

So far about 1800 health professionals have put up their hands to administer the jabs to fill the 2000 to 3000 positions the Government expects it needs for the rollout aiming to vaccinate every eligible Kiwi.

Source: Read Full Article