NZ vaccine rollout hits two-mill milestone

Ben McKayAAP
Around 200 anti-vaccine demonstrators protested outside Wellington's parliament.
Camera IconAround 200 anti-vaccine demonstrators protested outside Wellington's parliament. Credit: AAP

New Zealand's slow COVID-19 rollout has reached a milestone six months in the making, with two million doses administered.

After receiving its first doses in mid-February, vaccinators hit the two million mark on Wednesday.

The first one million doses took more than four months, but the second one million have gone into arms over the last six weeks.

COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins said he was pleased with the ramp-up.

"You'll see the pace will continue from here on in ... we should hit the third million by the end of the month," he said.

Opposition parties have been fiercely critical of the slow rollout, saying it puts New Zealand at risk of a Sydney-style outbreak.

ACT leader David Seymour said the ratio of 40 doses per 100 people a meant it was more of a "vaccine strollout".

"That milestone was met in Israel in January, the UK in mid-March, US in late-March ... across the ditch it was two weeks ago," he said.

"You only have to look at Australia to see how dangerous the Delta variant is and how quickly things can spiral out of control."

According to vaccine-tracking news outlet Newsroom, New Zealand is tracking 125th among all nations for vaccine administered for head of population.

New Zealand's rollout has been designed to rip into life from this month after the long setup phase when only at-risk groups and regional centres were eligible.

From last week, seniors aged over 60 have been invited to book in for their jabs.

New Zealand has approved three vaccines for use - Pfizer, Janssen and AstraZeneca - but is using just Pfizer in its goal to inoculate every consenting adult Kiwi against the virus this year.

Like Australia, New Zealand also has fringe groups protesting the vaccine rollout and government restrictions such as mask-wearing.

On Wednesday, around 200 protestors - several carrying flags supporting Donald Trump or conspiracy group "QAnon" - descended on Wellington's parliament.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was not concerned by the puny protest, but she was concerned generally about misinformation.

"That misinformation risks the health of our people," she said.

"It also risks ensuring that we remain COVID-free and also our economic recovery. So misinformation is what I worry about and anything or anyone that contributes to it."

The Ministry of Health has tracked public attitudes towards the vaccine, and show that Kiwis are increasingly likely to do so.

Last month, 81 per cent of New Zealanders said they would get their jabs, up from 69 per cent in March.

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