Northlanders troubled by waits longer than six weeks between Covid-19 vaccinations are being told by health officials not to worry.
Sixty-nine Northlanders have waited more than six weeks to receive their second dose of vaccine. They made up less than 1 per cent of the overall 9249 people who completed both jabs.
Northland District Health Board (NDHB) rural, family and community general manager Jeanette Wedding said there was no maximum time limit dictating when people needed to receive their second vaccination by.
"The recipients' immune response will at least be similar if the second dose is delayed," she said. "It should therefore not be a concern for vaccine recipients if the second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is delayed ..."
The Ministry of Health recommended at least three weeks between vaccinations but anyone outside of this time frame would not have to restart the vaccination process.
Information provided by the MoH said they were currently unsure about whether a larger gap between doses changed the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Gay Thomson, 63, from Kerikeri was extremely frustrated that she was expected to wait almost three months for her second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
"It's a frustration of not knowing what to do – if I don't have my second one do I have to start again. I'm in the dark and I don't know where to go," she said.
Thomson wanted to be vaccinated ahead of her husband so the couple had foresight into possible side affects that could impact his health given his cancer diagnosis.
Her first vaccination in mid-May went like clockwork.
But the two-week threshold passed in which Thomson didn't receive a text message promised by vaccination clinic staff to book her second appointment.
Concerned, she followed their advice in the case of radio silence and phoned the 0800 number.
"They couldn't help me either," she said. "They told me Kerikeri wasn't sending their figures through so they didn't know what appointments were available."
She was left with three options: travel the 85km to Whangārei to try her luck there; return to the Old Placemakers Building in Kerikeri and try the queue; or wait almost three months for a confirmed booking in August.
"I'm frustrated, absolutely frustrated," Thomson said. "What I'd like is for them to get in touch with people in the two weeks they say and for clearer communication."
Wedding said part of the problem was that people who got their first dose of the vaccine at unscheduled walk-in appointments were unable to book their second jab at the same time.
"The process has changed and people now receive a second dose booking, usually when their first dose is booked, so this problem should not reoccur."
Delays between vaccinations had not contributed to the 100 doses wasted to date, Wedding said.
Instead the wasted doses - that were 0.004 per cent of the total doses received - were down to people no-showing appointments.
Wedding encouraged anyone still waiting to receive a second dose booking to phone 0800 237 829.
"This remains the best way to get a booking," she said.