New Zealand vaccinators receive Covid-19 jab ahead of formal rollout

19 February 2021 - 08:24 By Reuters
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine is administered to a vaccinator in Auckland, New Zealand, February 19, 2021.
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine is administered to a vaccinator in Auckland, New Zealand, February 19, 2021.
Image: in this still image taken from video. New Zealand's Ministry of Health/Handout via REUTERS

New Zealand officials injected a small group of medical professionals with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Friday, in preparation for a wider rollout over the weekend.

The group chosen for the test run were vaccinators who will be administering the inoculation to border and quarantine staff from Saturday.

Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield said the test run gave vaccinators the opportunity to handle the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech, which requires ultra-low temperature storage.

“Our trial run at the Auckland quarantine facility today has confirmed our processes and systems are ready,” he said.

New Zealand officials have prioritised inoculating the country's roughly 12,000 border and so-called Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) workers.

Bloomfield said a nationwide rollout, covering the country's population of just under 5 million, will take a full year.

New Zealand has been one of the most successful countries in the world to curb the coronavirus pandemic, with fewer than 2,500 Covid-19 cases since March 2020 and 26 deaths.


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