Covid-19 vaccine rollout: Supply lines could be ‘disrupted,’ according to Bloomfield

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The Covid-19 vaccine supply in New Zealand has not been disrupted, but officials are mindful that the international situation is “volatile” according to Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

Bloomfield issued an update on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout schedule this afternoon.

Watch the briefing with Dr Bloomfield and Royal NZ College of General Practitioners president Dr Samantha Murton here:

Bloomfield said the vaccine rollout was continuing to scale up.

“We are now averaging between 12,000 and 16,000 doses being delivered every day across the country, and that’s about the volume we will remain at until we go through until about the end of June.

“In July we have those larger weekly drops. At the moment the weekly amounts from Pfizer are between 50,000 and 70,000 a week.”

The supply has not been interrupted, Bloomfield said.

“Pfizer has delivered to schedule so we have a high level of confidence in their intention and ability to deliver once those bigger drops come online.”

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However, authorities remained aware that the international situation was “volatile”, he said.

“There are still some potential disruptions to supply lines. They are fragile … there are some uncertainties still and some of those we can manage, some we can’t.”

By the end of June, vaccine stocks in freezers would be low, Bloomfield said.

“We’re trying to make sure we are delivering as much as possible of that in anticipation of the bigger volumes arriving through July.”

In July, the scale up of vaccine delivery will reach about 50,000 to 60,000 doses a day.

Vaccination is the second most important thing New Zealand is doing in 2021, Bloomfield said.

“The most important is keeping the virus out of our country. It may not be visible but every day there is a huge effort going into doing that.”

He said a practice-based model for vaccine delivery was being trialled “with the intention that as we move into July and that next scale-up, we will be able to include quite a number of general practices – around 30 to 40 percent … we’re working on about 800 venues where we will be able to logistically provide the vaccine to from July.

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“That will be a mix of those existing community hubs of differing scales, some large-scale events, one-off type events, including workplace based vaccinations and that primary care based model in general practice and in pharmacy.”

There were about 50 community hubs in play around the country already.

Bloomfield advised others who are “very keen to get their vaccination” to keep an eye out for updates rather than waiting to contact their doctor.

“As we roll out into group three and then group four there will be good information about how you can book your vaccine and indeed where you can access it.”

Bloomfield also praised primary care staff for their contributions to the virus’s eradication and vaccine distribution.

According to an update from Minister for the Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins yesterday, 388,877 New Zealanders have received vaccination doses, with 120,000 of them completely vaccinated having received their second dose.

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