Wellington Scoop

Region’s Health Boards preparing to vaccinate 200,000 Group 3 people

News from CCDHB
After starting with border and health workers and others in Groups 1 and 2, the vaccination programme is now scaling up significantly to meet the challenge of vaccinating those in Group 3.

For Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs this is a significant challenge, with approximately 200,000 people in this group across our region. The challenge, however, is one we’re confident we’ll step up to, working closely with primary health organisations, Māori and Pacific health providers, general practice and community pharmacy.

We’ve made a good start, with about 14,000 people in Group 3 having received at least one dose so far, and about half of those people having been fully vaccinated.

As Group 3 is so large, we can’t vaccinate everyone at once. That’s why our message is simple to those in Group 3: At the moment, we don’t need you to do anything. We will contact you when it is your turn to book, and this will happen by the end of July. We are also reserving appointments for Group 3 so that everybody in that group will have the opportunity to be vaccinated before we start vaccinating people in Group 4 (the rest of the general population).

Within Group 3, we’re prioritising people based on risk and equity factors. We’re proud that of the people in Group 3 we’ve vaccinated so far, 19.6% are Māori and 16% are Pacific. Both of these communities are traditionally underrepresented in our health system, and it is clear that the extra effort we’re putting in, supported by our Māori and Pacific health providers and primary health organisations, is working so far.

We also know that Disabled communities often feel left out, and we’re focussing our efforts to support them to be vaccinated in a safe and accessible way. Later this month, we’ll hold the first of our festival events for Disabled people, where we will provide extra supports and accommodations to enable Disabled people to be vaccinated in a warm and welcoming environment. Meanwhile, our DHB Disability team continues to work with all of our vaccination centres to ensure they are able to offer reasonable accommodations to anyone who needs them.

Report from RNZ – July 7
Half a million New Zealanders had received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine as of Tuesday afternoon, said Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins at a news conference in Wellington today. It was a “significant milestone”.

“A month ago we had vaccinated around a quarter of a million, so doubling that number demonstrates how the rollout has been gathering pace.”

The government was confident in the pace of the vaccine rollout – 1.27 million doses of the vaccine had been administered, an increase of more than 120,000 on last week.

“We’re making good progress in group three: in the last seven days we administered 49,000 group three vaccinations. Overall, DHBs track about 6 percent ahead of plan, slightly down on where they had been before.”

Hipkins said by the end of this week the Ministry of Health (MOH) would be seeking expressions of interest from large workforces who wanted to do on-site vaccinations for employees.

He acknowledged last Friday’s announcement on expanding the vaccinator workforce. “We have changed the medicines regulations to allow more health workers to be trained to give vaccinations.”

The Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said there were about 9000 vaccinators trained for the rollout across the country.

“It’s been very encouraging to see a huge range of both registered professions and unregistered professions, or people who have left the workforce are able under the changes to the medicine regulations to vaccinate as well.”

All DHBs were now using the ‘book my vaccine’ tool, with more than 325,000 appointments in the system, he said. The tool will go live for people in group four from 28 July.

A dedicated Covid-19 vaccination healthline will be available soon with 2000 people to support it, Bloomfield said.

Two million Australians fully vaccinated

Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older, said Chris Hipkins today. Provisional approval of the vaccine is a first step. It does not mean that that NZ has committed to using the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Cabinet will weigh up options on using the Janssen vaccine following advice from officials, with a “decision to use” expected some time in August.

“New Zealand secured 2 million doses of the Janssen vaccine through an advance purchase agreement last year. We purchased a portfolio of vaccine options to provide us with flexibility, and the approval of a second Covid-19 vaccine is welcome news. Medsafe follows a rigorous assessment process informed by the most up to date medical and scientific data. Approval has been very carefully considered with safety the key priority. The medical evidence shows Janssen is a very safe and effective vaccine. It is a great addition to our vaccine options.”

The Janssen vaccine would increase choices and flexibility in the immunisation rollout, Hipkins said.

“As a single dose vaccine, it may be useful in hard to reach locations or emergencies, or for those who cannot get the Pfizer vaccine.”


  1. Ray Chung, 7. July 2021, 19:59

    New Zealand is still 120th in the OECD for vaccination per head of population! The bottom of the world!

  2. Sophie Trigger, 9. July 2021, 13:39

    Official figures show Capital and Coast DHB has New Zealand’s second lowest vaccination rate per capita. The vaccine rollout as at Wednesday showed only 9.7 per cent of people in CCDHB had received their first dose of the vaccine, and only 7.5 per cent were fully vaccinated.

  3. Happy Gardener, 10. July 2021, 9:22

    For a while, I believed what I heard. That Seniors would be among the first to get the jab. I am still waiting. [via twitter]

  4. Alisa Smith, 10. July 2021, 9:43

    We’re 125th in the world for our vaccine roll-out. And we’re circa 200th in terms of cases and deaths. [via twitter]

  5. Mike Mellor, 10. July 2021, 12:42

    Good statistic, Alisa – puts the fuss about vaccination (which doubtless could have been handled better) in context.

    NZ may be near the bottom of the world with respect to one particular part of the fight against covid, but in terms of the total approach how many countries have done better?

  6. Chris Calvi-Freeman, 13. July 2021, 18:21

    Our DHB representatives have been pretty quiet of late – on the issue that Wellington is apparently lagging behind the national vaccination curve, and on other issues including the allegation that Wellington Regional Hospital’s ED is being used as overflow ward space and the hospital is becoming overstretched and unsafe.

  7. TrevorH, 13. July 2021, 19:14

    Alisa. Our relative success so far can be attributed to our remoteness, our low population density, the nuclear family, general compliance with lockdowns and sheer good luck. Not rocket science.

  8. Mike Mellor, 14. July 2021, 17:42

    TrevorH, you seem to be overlooking the world-leading governance, built on science and using good communication, that brought us the lockdowns that people then complied with, and also the border controls that built on our remoteness.

    Without those foundations, our nuclear families, good luck and population density would have made minimal difference to our fate.

  9. TrevorH, 14. July 2021, 18:17

    Mike Mellor: for a crucial period through February and much of March 2020 our main defense was public health nurses handing out leaflets at Auckland Airport. A travel ban was eventually imposed on passengers from China. But it took a massive petition by the public and direct interventions with the government by prominent businesspeople to get it to act decisively. In the meantime cruise ships like the Ruby Princess continued to visit causing deaths in a Hawkes Bay resthome.

  10. Toni, 14. July 2021, 19:36

    I agree Sophie, compared with the likes of the Hutt Valley DHB, the Capital Coast DHB roll out is a fiasco. Central Wellington residents can’t get vaccinated and no surprise that many are are going out to the Hutt with its two well-organised vaccination centres that are taking bookings.

  11. Mike Mellor, 14. July 2021, 20:50

    TrevorH: you have an interesting view of history! But it’s good you agree that the government did act decisively, the action that made all the difference, but which you unaccountably failed to include in your earlier attribution.

  12. CCDHB, 16. July 2021, 9:52

    Everybody in Group 3 will be invited to book their vaccination appointment by the end of July. When it is your turn to book your appointment, we will let you know. We will contact most people through their GP. This could be through a text message, your GP’s online system, by email, letter or phone call. You could also be invited to book an appointment by a Māori or Pacific health provider, a community or faith leader, or from a disability organisation. You will be able to get your vaccination at the clinic that is the most convenient to you – near your home or work.

  13. Greenwelly, 16. July 2021, 10:15

    CCDHB. What about those over 60 in group 4 – we have also been promised to be open for booking from 28 July.

  14. Wendy, 16. July 2021, 11:36

    CCDHB claims that “Within Group 3, we’re prioritising people based on risk and equity factors”. So, while health factors are obvious, what about physical factors? Have they identified that inner-city residents (who currently cannot get vaccinations) make a up a huge population living in a higher-risk physical environment consisting of vertical streets with shared lift egress to their homes? They also live in an area that is a tourist, visitor, business, and entertainment destination. The inner-city was extremely lucky the recent scare in the central city was not worse, as one infected person in a lift can infect an entire community.

    And why isn’t there a large vaccination centre in the city (say TSB arena or something similar)? The Hutt and many other areas around NZ have been doing this with this great success for a while now. It seems to make far more sense than a myriad of small providers struggling with the huge demand. And, as the Minister of Health is looking at making it easier for office workers to get vaccinations, a close large base with more capacity in Wellington City would surely be more efficient and cost effective, given the refrigerated storage requirements associated with the vaccine.

  15. D'Esterre, 16. July 2021, 17:22

    Wendy, you raise valid issues with regard to residents in the central city. It’s people living in close proximity like that, which has contributed to big outbreaks elsewhere in the world. We’ve noticed that what appears to be a vaccination centre has been set up recently in one of the vacant shops in the Johnsonville mall, though it hasn’t been open when we’ve gone past. If there’s been any notification about its establishment, we didn’t see it anywhere. Who’s intended to go there? No way of knowing, absent signage.