Experts are welcoming the Government's general public Covid vaccine rollout plan but want more clarity on some aspects of how it will work.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield yesterday revealed the rollout to all unvaccinated Kiwis would begin on July 28.
People aged 60 and over could book their appointment first through a new national booking system, Book My Vaccine.
It would then progress down in age brackets with those 55 and over able to book from August 11. People 45 and older should be able to book from mid-to-late August, and people over 35 would be eligible about a month later.
It will likely open up for the rest of the population in October.
Those without a booking already would use Book My Vaccine, which would slowly replace systems used by individual DHBs.
Auckland would be the last DHB to move to the national booking system because of the number of people already booked. This was in spite of the many issues people reported while using the region's system.
After an invitation via either email, text, mail or phone, people could book their jabs online. They could also book by phone, which could be used if eligible people were concerned they hadn't received an invitation.
University of Canterbury epidemiologist Arindam Basu said the strategy appeared to be based on the best evidence.
However, he cited multiple aspects that needed further clarity, including how the Government would address vulnerable people in younger age brackets.
"It is good to keep in mind that within age groups, vulnerability varies," he said.
"So more clarity is needed on how vulnerable groups within Group 4 would be addressed in deciding vaccination order."
He recommended a system where immunocompromised people could be prioritised within their age brackets, but expected the Government to introduce something similar.
He also highlighted the need for strong border controls and community infection prevention methods like mask wearing, given the apparent risk of virus strains - such as the Delta variant - which seemed to be just as dangerous for people at any age.
University of Auckland professor Tava Olsen said the system appeared "very sensible", but had many questions, including how the national system would cope with demand and what vaccination sites it was linked to.
"There are always 'no shows' for any booking system - so what buffer has been worked through to ensure a balance between people waiting and vaccinators not sitting idle?"
Te Pūnaha Matatini modeller Professor Michael Plank welcomed the plan, saying it would "make it easy for people to know when they are eligible and to invite them to book their vaccinations".
There was no specific consideration for more vulnerable populations like Māori and Pasifika in the age brackets for the sake of "simplicity of communicating to the nation", Ardern said.
However, she confirmed DHBs had clear plans to vaccinate entire populations to nullify equity issues in places such as Tai Tokerau and Tairāwhiti.
The ministry was also looking to work with big companies to roll out vaccine programmes. Companies such as Fonterra and Mainfreight had already indicated they were willing to assist.
It was expected the rollout would administer up 350,000 vaccines a week or 70,000 a day at its peak. Ardern gave little details away regarding mass vaccination drives, except to say they would be trialled before they were rolled out.
The bulk of New Zealand's vaccines would arrive in October, with Ardern saying vaccine supply should match the current rollout plan.
"We're confident based on the conversations we've had with our supplier that the rollout schedule we've broadly set out today will match the supply we [will receive]."
Bloomfield said approval of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine would depend on a Medsafe decision expected in the coming weeks, the Vaccination Technical Advisory Group and Cabinet.
Meanwhile, a child on Stewart Island/Rakiura has returned a weak positive Covid-19 test result, which is under investigation.
Bloomfield said all indications pointed to the case being a false positive, but confirmation would come from serology testing with results expected late yesterday.
As a precaution, the Rakiura Rugrats early childhood centre was closed for the rest of the week.
The result was picked up when a Stewart Island family had Covid tests before planning to head overseas. A second test was negative and other members were also negative.
When will you get vaccinated?
People aged 60 and over will be the first of the general public to book their vaccine from July 28. This will be followed by those 55 and over who will be able to book from August 11.
From there, those 45 and older should be able to book from mid-to-late August while people over 35 will do so about a month later. It will likely open up for the rest of the population by October.
How can I book my vaccine?
Nothing has changed for people already with an appointment. People who either haven't booked or aren't yet eligible, will eventually use the Book My Vaccine system.
People will be able to choose the date, time and location of their two jabs through Book My Vaccine. More information on the system would be available next week.
Where can I get vaccinated?
People can get vaccinated through community centres, GPs and pharmacies - and more capacity is being added daily.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated mass vaccination centres will be used but couldn't specify what facilities would be used yet.
Ardern said trials of these centres - where 10,000s of vaccines could be administered a day - would be done before they were rolled out.
Do we have enough vaccine?
There is high confidence from the Government that New Zealand's vaccine orders will match the general public rollout announced yesterday.
It was expected the country would receive the bulk of its vaccines by October, following periodic deliveries that may require the rollout to be staggered to prevent vaccine shortage.