From Friday, New Zealanders aged 55-59 will be able to book their COVID-19 vaccine, five days earlier than planned.
There are about 300,000 people in this group.
People in the 55-plus age band who haven’t already been vaccinated will receive an invitation by letter, text and email, or they can go to Book My Vaccine to make an appointment, Ministry of Health Primary Care Lead Vaccination and Immunisation Programme Dr Joe Bourne says.
“Because of the great response we’re seeing from the earlier groups, we are now in position to open the 55-plus age band for vaccinations earlier than we planned,” Dr Bourne says.
“This is also due to the hard work of District Health Boards, which continue to add capacity to their vaccination programmes.”
People in this group who are eligible don’t have to wait to receive an invitation. They can make their own booking by visiting bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz, or by calling the 0800 28 29 26 COVID Vaccination Healthline (8am-8pm, seven days a week).
People in other groups who are eligible and who are not vaccinated yet can also continue to book – there’s no cut-off and they won’t miss out.
“Thanks to everyone who has booked their vaccine. It’s great to be able to offer the next group of people the chance to book earlier than originally planned,” Dr Bourne says.
“This is a clear indication that the programme is on track to give every eligible New Zealander the opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of the year. We’re also receiving very positive feedback from people who’ve already used the booking and vaccination process. It’s proving to be efficient and easy to use.”
“We now have the supply we need to continue to open age bands. One million doses of the vaccine were delivered in July, and another 1.5 million will be delivered in August.
“Our capacity to vaccinate people is increasing each week, as is the number of sites where people can be vaccinated.
“In particular, we’re getting more primary care sites coming on stream to administer the vaccine. As at 4 August, there were more than 350 active primary care sites administering the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the country. The majority of these are GP practices but this group also includes pharmacies and hauora.
“A whânau-centred approach to vaccinations also means that whânau Mâori and Pacific families can be vaccinated together when a member of the family is eligible to be vaccinated.
“By getting vaccinated people are protecting themselves their whânau and playing their part in protecting New Zealand – it will save lives and help us to open up the country further.”
More than 317,000 bookings have been made in Book My Vaccine since New Zealanders aged 60-64 became eligible on 28 July. There are now more than 950,000 active bookings in Book My Vaccine.