The Ministry of Health's vaccination estimates for September were blown out of the water with a further 480,000 vaccines administered above what was planned, new data reveals.
A total of 2,001,208 vaccinations were done between August 30 and October 3 across the 17 district health board groups, as well as 16,597 at "Other sites" - vaccinations for staff of the New Zealand Defence Force, Police, Fire and Emergency and other large workplaces.
Prior to September, the Ministry of Health publicly released how many weekly vaccinations were expected to take place across DHBs.
However, as vaccinations ramped up amid the Delta outbreak which began in August, the estimations were no longer released as they were considered "obsolete" by the Ministry.
The plans, supplied to the NZ Herald under the Official Information Act, showed the Ministry had predicted 1,521,153 vaccines would be administered in the 35-day period across DHBs (no plans had been made for Other site vaccinations).
In reality, that plan was exceeded by 463,458 vaccinations - in addition to roughly 17,000 Other site vaccinations.
The chief contributors were Auckland's three DHBs (Waitematā, Auckland, Counties Manukau), which between them recorded 320,580 more vaccinations (770,290) than the expected 449,710.
The first week of September (ending on September 5) recorded the biggest jump in vaccinations when compared to previous plans, with 550,727 jabs administered - 243,730 more than the expected 306,997.
Auckland, the focal point of the outbreak, saw a 120 per cent increase in actual vaccinations versus planned vaccinations for that week, recording 104,368 more than its estimate of 86,742 (191,110).
Other regions with substantial increases were Canterbury with almost 23,000 more vaccinations than expected, and Waikato with roughly 15,000 more.
Nationally, the following three weeks all exceeded vaccination estimates in a decreasing trend - 38 per cent, 26 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
It wasn't until the final week of the month (ending October 3) when actual vaccinations dipped below planned vaccinations, but only by roughly 4000 vaccines (1 per cent).
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When questioned in early September why vaccination estimates were no longer being released, Ministry of Health Covid-19 vaccination operations group manager Astrid Koornneef said the increase in demand caused by the outbreak made the plans obsolete.
"The current volumes of vaccinations being delivered are significantly exceeding our previously planned volumes, so publication of the old plans is no longer a relevant or useful basis for comparison," she said.
At the time, the Ministry and DHBs were measuring vaccination capacity and uptake, which would support the development of estimates for October through to December.
Koornneef said they would be published once finalised but no such estimates have been released on the Ministry's website yet.