The Ministry of Health is developing a plan to make sure that vaccines are distributed fairly. Those more at risk from COVID-19 including such as border workers, health workers, Māori, Pacific peoples, older People and People with disabilities will be prioritised.
The first people to be vaccinated will be border and Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) workers because of the role they play in keeping COVID-19 out of New Zealand. This includes MIQ cleaners, nurses who undertake health checks in MIQ, security staff, customs and border officials, airline staff and hotel workers amongst others. The people they live with will also be first in line to be vaccinated.
Medsafe has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine under the following guidelines:
- the vaccine is approved for use for people 16 years of age and over
- Vaccination for people under the age of 16 may be approved when more clinical data is available.
- pregnant women are advised to discuss the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine with their doctor.
the vaccine is suitable for use in lactating women.
- patients receiving specific therapies, including Keytruda, Opdivo, Yervoy and Tecentriq should seek advice from their specialist before receiving the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- People receiving the vaccine will be provided information around expected common side effects, for example fever, muscle pain and fatigue.
- a 30-minute observation period is required after the vaccine has been administered.
COVID-19 vaccines for the general public are expected to be available in the second half of 2021.