The New Zealand Herald

DHBs slash jab forecast by 170k shots

- Derek Cheng — additional reporting Chris McDowall

District health boards have reduced their aims for the vaccine rollout, with tens of thousands fewer doses planned to be administer­ed by the end of August than originally planned.

The revised numbers for DHB vaccine plans until August 29 were released on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health, prompting questions over whether they’ve been changed to make it easier for DHBs to look ahead of target.

In the original April plan, they had originally planned to have administer­ed 3.22 million doses in total by the end of August, but the new plan was for 3.05 million doses – 170,000 fewer.

The Ministry of Health said that the change was the equivalent of the rollout running four days behind the original schedule.

“The dosage figures provided in the original plan were based on very early data modelling, working off the best informatio­n available at the time,” said Jo Gibbs, national director Covid-19 vaccine and immunisati­on programme.

“The 170,000 doses will amount to about four days’ of volume of vaccine by the end of August.”

She said the ministry now had a “clearer picture of the volume and timing of supply from Pfizer and have also continued to work closely with DHBs as they have delivered the vaccine locally”.

The goal to offer a vaccinatio­n to every eligible person in New Zealand by the end of the year had not changed, Gibbs said.

It comes as supply of the vaccine is no longer critically short. This week saw a shipment of 350,000-odd vaccine doses, the largest so far.

This is enough to vaccinate 50,000 people a day, which is what will be needed on average to have 4 million people fully vaccinated by December.

But Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that capacity to do so wouldn’t be ready until the end of August – six weeks away.

Asked why it couldn’t be done now, he said that primary care practices were still being brought “on board”.

That’s despite GPs and pharmacies crying out for months for more informatio­n and to be more involved, with some GPs in Auckland turning away bookings because of ongoing uncertaint­y and an absence of communicat­ion from the Ministry of Health.

The rollout is currently tracking 5 per cent ahead of the scheduled DHB plans.

As of midnight Tuesday, there had been 1.55 million doses of the vaccine administer­ed in total, and almost 630,000 people were fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile three more crew on the Mattina container ship quarantine­d at Bluff have tested positive for Covid.

All crew who have tested positive will remain quarantine­d on board, the Ministry of Health said.

There were also three new Covid cases in managed isolation reported yesterday.

 ?? Photo / Alex Burton ?? Some 3.22 million vaccinatio­ns were originally planned to be given by the end of August.
Photo / Alex Burton Some 3.22 million vaccinatio­ns were originally planned to be given by the end of August.

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