West Auckland resident Richard Shakles and his wife thought they were doing the right thing as part of the team of 5 million.
Within minutes of PM Jacinda Ardern mentioning during one of her daily Covid press conferences last month that those aged 40 and over were eligible for the vaccine, both were on their computers booking appointments.
But today they were left frustrated after being told via text that their bookings next week at Westgate Medical Centre in Massey are now cancelled, with no new appointments until alert level 2.
The text which was sent to numerous Aucklanders booked in at Westgate today said:
"The Westgate Medical centre has closed their Covid-19 vaccination service until Alert Level 2. Please rebook online by visiting bookmyvaccine.nz or call us on 0800 28 29 26 (8:00am to 8:00pm 7 days) to rebook your vaccination at another site. We apologise for any inconvenience. Nga Mihi."
The message was brief. No other explanation was given.
"We were diligent and booked straight away," Shakles said of the cancellation, adding they were "left high and dry" by being sent to the back of the queue.
It's a scenario that has also been playing out in other parts of the country in recent days, including Waikato and Hawke's Bay where 117 people had their bookings cancelled on Monday.
But the Government insists it's not due to a vaccine shortage.
"Operating in alert level 3 or 4 conditions means that all of our vaccination sites have had to reduce capacity to allow for infection control measures like physical distancing," Waikato DHB said today in a Covid-19 advisory.
"This has meant we have had to send out messages or phone some people to postpone their appointments and get them to rebook for their Covid-19 vaccination.
"We know that this is very disappointing for some, but people are still able to re-book at another time and even another place if that suits them."
Others, the DHB said, have seen their bookings cancelled amid the lockdown so that higher priority groups - such as essential workers at petrol stations and supermarkets - get in first.
In Central Hawke's Bay, health officials also cited social distancing restrictions for recently cancelled bookings - including 117 on Monday.
Otane resident Robbie McKee told Hawke's Bay Today his cancellation was a gut punch. He is "pulmonary compromised", over 65 and in a wheelchair - all factors, he said, that make him especially keen to get the jab.
"I feel like a lower-class citizen," he said of the cancellation.
The Ministry of Health acknowledged bookings have also been cancelled in Auckland, Hawke's Bay and other regions due to social distancing issues - especially at some smaller clinics - and so essential workers can go to the front of the queue. Other clinics have had to shift focus to testing for Covid rather than vaccinating for it.
A spokesperson said the ministry can't say how many bookings have been cancelled or rescheduled for those reasons.
"We appreciate that there has been frustration for some people around making bookings and when they may be able to get a vaccination, especially as New Zealanders flock to book their jab, with almost 1.9 million active future bookings now in the system at more than 480 sites," the spokesperson said.
"But, we reiterate that no one will miss out, and that there will be enough vaccine for everyone eligible to be vaccinated by the end of the year.
"We are currently seeing unprecedented levels of demand at our clinics and call centres, and our DHBs are working as hard as they can to accommodate everyone."
Health officials said they are reviewing vaccination sites, with plans to increase days of operation in places where demand is especially high.
"...We are asking people to be patient and understand that they may not get a vaccination appointment immediately, or that some appointments may need to be changed as DHBs work to balance these demands," the Ministry of Health spokesman said.
As of Tuesday, nearly 2.3 million people in New Zealand had received their first dose of the vaccine, 54 per cent of the eligible population. The Ministry of Health says 68 per cent of the eligible population has either already had a jab or are booked in to do so - proof, officials say, that the system is working.
Shakles said he got lucky. He saw on social media hours after receiving the disappointing news there were spare doses available at Trusts Arena - about a 14-minute drive away from their Riverside home - on a first-come-first-served basis.
So the 47-year-old jumped in his car and got one. But his wife, 44, stayed home with their children.
"Really, I think they should be the ones to facilitate re-booking, not just leave you high and dry, which is what they did," he said. "Just to suddenly be told 'sorry for any inconvenience' and that's it - that's what I thought wasn't good enough."