The Government has pushed out the last of the Pfizer shipments due to arrive in October to November and December in preparation for potentially vaccinating under-12s and providing booster shots next year.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told the Health Select Committee it was able to do so after securing an extra nearly 800,000 Pfizer doses from Spain and Denmark.
The revelation came after questioning from National's Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop over the Government's vaccine procurement process.
Bishop quoted from leaked Ministry of Health modelling that showed all of the Pfizer vaccines were due to have arrived by the end of September, with about 650,000 doses arriving a week from July 1.
"Had the Government gone with Pfizer's original delivery schedule we'd have received 7.3 million doses by 1 September," Bishop said.
"Instead we administered just under four million."
Hipkins told the committee that health modelling reflected an already-corrected misstatement that the vaccines were to arrive by October, when in reality it was "by the end of October".
The Government had not delayed any shipments, Hipkins said.
Since securing the extra doses from Spain and Denmark to help meet current peak demand they were sure there would be "more than enough" doses in the country to for all eligible people in New Zealand within "the next month or so", he said.
Based on this extra supply, the Government had "rephased" the final shipments from Pfizer to November and December so they would not expire in the new year. This would allow for vaccinations for the under-12s if approved and booster shots if needed.
Auckland today moved out of lockdown to level 3 after nearly five weeks in a bid to contain the country's first Delta outbreak.
The move has raised questions given daily case numbers are still in double digits with still unlinked cases, including several across the lockdown border in Whakatīwai linked to a remand prisoner who travelled there.
Act Party leader David Seymour asked Hipkins for the Government's position on when the vaccination rollout could be defined as "complete" and what that would mean in terms of reducing restrictions.
He also asked why no numerical target had been set, given director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has recently said they were aiming for "at least 90 per cent" and Health Minister Andrew Little said there would be no need for lockdowns with rates over 90 per cent.
It also comes amid Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling for a boost to vaccination rates in Tāmaki Makaurau as the city battles the Delta outbreak.
Hipkins did not give a clear response, but said setting a target and basing actions off it would be "unrealistic and misleading".
If they reached a numerical target there could be pockets of unvaccinated posing problems. There were also major equity issues in the rollout, he said.
On daily vaccinations dropping from a peak of 90,000 to 50,000 Hipkins said they were now facing a demand issue, and more work was needed to reach the unvaccinated.
The commitment to a strategy of elimination, or zero tolerance for Covid cases in the community, has also faced increased scrutiny.
The Government has said it remains the goal, although director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the country wouldn't necessarily need zero cases to get to level 1.
"I don't think a level 1 scenario with Delta necessarily means a series of zero cases, because what we've got now, of course, is vaccination," he told RNZ.
"We may not get back to zero, but the important thing is we're going to keep finding any infections and basically continue to contact trace, test, isolate people."
Bloomfield reiterated that more than 90 per cent of people would need to be vaccinated before officials could be confident of moving to level 1, but "misinformation" circulating on social media was affecting numbers.
Bloomfield, alongside Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, are expected to also face questions from 11am at the Health Select Committee on the vaccine rollout and procurement process.