This is our main page for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. It is regularly updated with the most recent and important information.
Pinnacle is connected with all DHBs planning teams who are charged with rolling out the vaccination programmes in their regions. We will keep this page fully updated and publish regular newsletter updates.
Information about COVID-19, including current Alert Levels and guidelines for general practice in each Alert Level can be found on our COVID-19 news page.
The vaccine requires two doses and takes around two weeks until it begins to provide protection. You need two doses of the mRNA-CV vaccine to give you the best protection against the virus.
The Ministry of Health regularly publishes statistics on the rollout programme. The data is updated weekly on Wednesdays.
As we get to Groups 3 and 4 of the COVID-19 vaccination roll out New Zealand will need to have as many different opportunities as possible for people to get vaccinated. From July onwards all practices who wish to provide COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to do so. Here are some things to consider as a team.
Hopefully your nurses have now completed the IMAC training. Ensure they also have completed the CIR training if they are going to be inputting into CIR. Both trainings are found on the IMAC website.
The CIR database will not work with Internet Explorer 11 so a modern browser (e.g. Chrome, Edge – version no more than 12 months old) will be required. Check this now with your IT providers to ensure this requirement will not hold you up. Please note, you will not have access to the live CIR database until 24 hours prior to beginning to vaccinate.
Who will be responsible for cold chain in your practice? As part of your practice cold chain accreditation you should have two cold chain nurses and a policy that will also cover COVID-19 vaccination. A cold chain template is currently being developed that covers COVID-19 vaccination.
Your practice will be the site signed off for delivery of vaccine. If you envisage vaccinating outside of your practice ensure you understand the cold chain requirements around delivery and storage of vaccine. Let your PDF know if think you may wish to vaccinate offsite so we can factor this into the planning for your region.
What will your process be? Will you fit this into as BAU or do block afterhours clinics?
The National Booking System Book My Vaccine is available but practices can also choose to use their own booking system. As your weekly volumes increase, there may be more benefits to using the National Booking System.
People will book both their first and second dose at the same time and will be sent confirmation and a reminder of their appointments. People will be able to change vaccination appointments online if they no longer suit and help with booking will also be available over the phone on an 0800 number if needed. A demonstration of how the system works was held for media in late June. A video this session is available on the Ministry of Health website.
What will your patient flow be?
How many vaccinations will you do a day?
The process is still being finalised in each DHB area but we expect weekly ordering to be standard. The process will require a designated person who will need to do a stock check each morning – who will that be in your practice?
The prices are nationally set at $36.05 (excl GST) in hours or $48.72 (excl GST) after hours. For this vaccination programme after hours is 8pm-8am Monday to Thursday, after 5pm Friday, and any public holiday.
Claiming is through CIR, however currently this isn't automated. This means practices need to invoice Pinnacle monthly.
A checklist of practice considerations such as what is outlined above is available on our website.
The vaccine rollout for Group 4 will be in age bands:
People can be vaccinated at any time — there’s no cut off.
These dates are estimates.
The actual start times will depend on when vaccines are delivered. Changes may also happen if the Ministry of Health get new information that affects how the rollout will work.
Nationally, there are over a million people in Group 3, which means the group needs to be spread out - particularly due to supply limitations until late July, but also because it is such a large group it will take some time to get through.
People will receive an invitation to book their COVID-19 vaccination through a range of options including their DHB, GP, other healthcare provider or local participating pharmacy. This may seem like a double-up with some people getting more than one invite, but this will provide people with a choice on where they want to get their vaccination. Waikato DHB has now started sending invitations to Group 3 people to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointments using the national booking system Book My Vaccine. At this stage this is for community vaccination centres located in Hamilton and will expand as further community vaccination sites are ready.
As a result of your support in working to set up systems and sites, Waikato people will be able to go to a range of places to get vaccinated, including a mix of community vaccination centres, fixed sites, mobile clinics, GPs and pharmacies located all over the Waikato from late July.
Te Awa – The Base community vaccination centre
Our largest community COVID-19 vaccination centre is set to open in Hamilton, allowing for up to 1,000 people each day to receive their vaccinations.
The site, at Te Awa, The Base in Te Rapa, is a joint partnership between Waikato DHB, Waikato Tainui, Tainui Group Holdings and Kiwi Properties.
When it is in full operation it will run seven days a week as Groups 3 and 4 in Waikato become eligible for the vaccination programme.
The site was chosen for its convenient location, size, good public transport connections and parking.
Because we have such a large group to vaccinate in the Waikato DHB takiwaa, it will take all of us working together to achieve this. With your continued support we can meet this challenge.
Lakes DHB is actively taking bookings from people in Group 3.
Lakes DHB is encouraging anyone who falls under the Group 3 category, in Rotorua or Taupō areas, to make an appointment by calling 0800 115 117 or emailing email@example.com. Phone lines are currently staffed Monday to Saturday from 7.30am to 5pm. From 30 June the National Call Centre Whakarongarau will be taking most calls and referring a few through to Lakes DHB.
The COVID-19 Immunisation Programme is a booked service, not a drop-in one. The DHB would be grateful if general practice could encourage patients to ring or email to book an appointment time for immunisation. The waiting time at the hub is almost always less than two minutes, and following the observation period (20 minutes) the entire process is taking less than 30 minutes.
Healthpoint has been endorsed as the national directory for all COVID-19 vaccination sites, providing all New Zealanders with access to a ‘single source of truth’ for all vaccination site location details. Healthpoint’s national directory of COVID-19 vaccination sites will be used by the public, 0800 phone-operators and by national campaigns.
Vaccinating practices are asked to please update their Healthpoint listing to reflect they are a vaccinating site. Instructions how to do this can be found here (PDF). If you need assistance please contact Healthpoint on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 09 630 0828.
Thank you for your support in developing this national directory.
The planning guidelines (The Blueprint) for DHBs and providers outline how the Pfizer vaccination programme can be applied in existing health care delivery settings.
The blueprint document provides generic guidance to aid planning for vaccine delivery in your community using the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The operating guidelines provide guidance on establishing and managing a COVID-19 vaccination site, including guidelines for the vaccination workforce. The document is designed to help district health boards and providers maintain public safety and ensure consistent and equitable COVID-19 vaccination practices are in place across New Zealand. This guide will be amended as needed, and new versions are released often. The MOH expect regular iterations based on learnings from the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine programme.
The Ministry of Health has released 2021 Addendum to national standards for vaccine storage and transportation providers 2017 (second edition). You will note the requirement for an ambient air temperature monitoring.
Practices will need a digital thermometer that records minimum and maximum temperatures and record these temperatures every day (at the same time as the fridge temperatures are recorded). These records need to be kept for at least 10 years.
Medsafe has received data from Pfizer to vary the storage conditions for their COVID-19 vaccine. This data has been assessed and Medsafe has approved the new conditions for use in New Zealand.
This change means that the refrigerated (2°C to 8°C) shelf life of an unopened vial of Comirnaty vaccine is extended from 5 days to 31 days. Once at 2°C to 8°C, the vial cannot be returned to the freezer and must be disposed of after 31 days or on the vial’s expiration date (whichever happens first). The vaccine still needs to be kept at ultra-low temperatures (-90°C to -60°C) in the longer term, for up to six months.
Further information about the approved storage conditions for the Pfizer vaccine can be found in the New Zealand data sheet.
A standard fee for service price of $36.05 (excl GST) for each vaccination, which will increase to $48.72 (excl GST) for vaccinations that are provided out of hours.
Te Kauwhata Health Centre began delivery in Group 2, working with their rest home. The team kindly shared their experience with us by letting us film some education videos.
These videos are a great resource for general practice, alongside the formal training from IMAC.
Our huge thanks to the team from Te Kauwhata, you guys are absolute stars!
Reports have been received by the Ministry of Health highlighting issues with some Vernacare brand syringes and low dead space needles. These issues are seen when Vernacare brand syringes are joined to Vernacare low dead space (LDS) needles resulting in a loose connection. The issue appers to be batch related and is affecting some sites more than others throughout the country. This Ministry of Health letter outlines more information including vaccination site actions to mitigate risk.
IMAC is offering health professionals open and free access to its COVID-19 education courses. All COVID-19 vaccinator and COVID Immunisation Register (CIR) administrator online courses can be accessed via the IMAC learning management system, IMAC Learning.
IMAC webinar schedule
IMAC has been breaking down important COVID-19 vaccination topics into frequent webinar sessions. Spaces are limited so please only register if you are able to make it. Recordings for all webinar topics will be made available so you have the best opportunity to access the information.
Weekly drop-in Q&A sessions - Thursdays 12pm (30min)
Ask IMAC's panel of expert advisors and facilitators questions you may have about COVID-19 vaccinations, vaccines, training and the rollout in New Zealand. Please note these sessions will not be recorded.
Goodfellow webinar recording on COVID-19 vaccines: Presented by Dr Nikki Turner, Director of IMAC.
Immunisation support workforce education
There are number of roles supporting Aotearoa’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts that may vary depending on the delivery model and size of a vaccination centre, enabling the centre to work at full capacity. The Immunisation Advisory Centre provides education for people with non-vaccinating duties in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout such as immunisation conversations in communities, cold chain management and post-vaccination observation and care.
MOH has been running a series of webinars for health sector professionals to share details about the vaccine programme. The sessions are an opportunity to share information, ask questions and provide feedback, and have covered a range of topics, such as workforce, distribution and equity. If you would like to receive an invitation to these webinars, that are run via Microsoft Teams, please email email@example.com.
The web-based national COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) to record COVID-19 vaccinations is operational.
PMS providers indici and Medtech have confirmed the interface with the COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR). Notifications for those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination should be received to your practice. Medtech practices may need to run the Medtech32 Version 23.0 Build 6783 – COVID vaccination update – please check your Medtech customer portal for details.
The CIR is only for COVID-19 vaccinations and all other vaccinations should continue to be recorded on the National Immunisation Register. As the CIR writes back to PMS, unless you're using your PMS for booking, it's not necessary to use your PMS alongside CIR in most cases.
For system help or log in issues, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 223 987.
The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) is your local source of scientific and clinical information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. It has a wide range of useful clinical COVID-19 resources, including frequently asked questions.
If you require more immediate clinical advice, including in the context of an individual patient or event, please call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863). This is staffed by clinical advisors from 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Clinicians can also email email@example.com for advice.
Alternatively you can speak to your Pinnacle GP liaison, or Dr Jo Scott-Jones, medical director if you think it is a question with an answer worth sharing broadly in the network. Contacts listed below.
Practices receive inbox messages notifying when a patient has had a COVID-19 vaccination.
indici practices can automatically file the CIR notification
Click on the file within the notification of the CIR message and it creates the immunisation within the patient record. This looks no different to, for example, receiving a 'given elsewhere' vaccine for a flu vaccination, except it says 'CIR notification' rather than 'NIR notification'.
Non-indici practices have a more manual process
It’s suggested practices use the information to record the vaccine as “given elsewhere”, then file the result. Eventually the COVID-19 Immunisation Register (CIR) will work in a similar way to the NIR, with an automatic ability to 'update details' in the system. We will update with those details once that's up and running.
It is recommended to keep confidential records of who is vaccinated and who isn’t so any health and safety risks can be managed. These principles can also apply to other vaccinations, such as MMR.
There is no straightforward answer to this question as it depends on the specific circumstance. Find below a range of legal and procedural considerations along with some possible responses depending on the risk profile.
Employers are required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to take all practicable steps to provide an healthy and safe workplace. A key determination needing to be made is what is practical and what is not.
Staff are unable to be unilaterally compelled to have vaccinations as there are a range of legislative protections at play. These include Bill of Rights Act 1990, Human Rights Act 1993, Privacy Act 2020 and Employment Relations Act 2000. Individual employment agreements and practice policies also need consideration.
If an employee chooses to decline the COVID-19 vaccination, we recommend as a first step to meet with them to make sure they have made an informed decision and provide education if they are open to it. In that meeting stick to the issue of the vaccination only, don’t delve into their personal beliefs and avoid anything that may be considered discriminatory.
If they decide not to get vaccinated, assess the risk profile (for example, how likely are they to be infected or pass on the infection to others). Based on this assessment, there are several options available. You are not required to redeploy the staff member unless it makes good business sense to do that. It is also important to consider the effect of any decision you make on the workplace culture.
Before considering suspension or dismissal of any employee, please be sure to receive HR advice as this decision needs to be procedurally and substantively fair.
For specific advice on people challenges, including staffing changes, employee wellness, and meeting your health and safety obligations regarding COVID-19, call the free COVID-19 Business Helpline on 0800 500 362.
For further support or to access a sample immunisation disclosure form email helloHR@pinnacle.health.nz.
Resources are available for your staff about the COVID-19 vaccine and process to receive the vaccination on the MOH website.
Please continue to allow a two-week gap between the COVID-19 vaccine and influenza vaccine where possible, regardless of the order they’re given. However there are no clinical safety concerns should the gap between the two vaccines be less than two weeks. Do not delay vaccination if such a gap is not possible.
Please continue to allow a four-week gap between the COVID-19 vaccine and MMR vaccine where possible, regardless of the order they’re given. However there are no clinical safety concerns should the gap between the two vaccines be less than four weeks. Do not delay vaccination if such a gap is not possible.
Medsafe has given provisional approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.
If Cabinet approve a ‘decision to use’ Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds, the Ministry of Health will provide advice about how young people will be able to access their vaccinations as part of the rollout. Cabinet are expected to consider this issue soon.
The vaccine will not be mandatory for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, has recently released advice for clinicians on COVID-19 vaccines and cancer. People with cancer are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more likely to develop a serious infection. The advice supports people with cancer receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and outlines those who should be prioritised to receive it.
The Ministry of Health encourages people who are pregnant to get a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Group 3 at any stage of their pregnancy. This is because people who are pregnant can become very sick if they get COVID-19.
Data from the large number of pregnant people who have already been vaccinated globally shows that there are no additional safety concerns with giving COVID-19 vaccines at any stage of pregnancy.
Vaccinating during pregnancy may also be helpful for the baby as there’s evidence that infants can get antibodies to the virus through cord blood and breast milk.
Ministry of Health advice related to pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine as well as vaccine advice for other specific groups can be found on their website.
As with all vaccines on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule, there are no safety concerns about giving mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to women who are breastfeeding.
Scammers will use any opportunity to try to trick and manipulate people into giving out their personal or financial details, especially through email and SMS scams. CERT NZ is working to put a stop to COVID-19 vaccine scam campaigns and ensure the safe roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Government cyber security agency, CERT NZ has been made aware of examples of COVID-19 vaccine scams overseas. It is felt that is is only a matter of time before scams evolve to become New Zealand focused. It pays to remain vigilant as the vaccine rollout starts. If you’re unsure if something is legitimate you can report it confidentially to the COVID-19 vaccine scam reporting government agency CERT NZ.
CERT NZ has set up a dedicated web page and email address for reporting - COVID-19 scams - cert.govt.nz
People working in the health sector are seen as trusted sources of information that people may come to for guidance. Some important points to remember are:
We all have a responsibility to stop misinformation and conspiracy theories spreading.
To support this approach, the Ministry of Health continue to provide clear, consistent access to trusted and transparent information. As always, people should only go to trusted sources for their information and should carefully consider what they pass on.
If you see something about the vaccine that doesn’t seem right, if it’s on social media report it to the platform – anything else report it to CERT NZ or call 0800 2378 69.
You may receive calls from people who have received the vaccine and suspect they may have experienced a side effect related to the vaccination. Like all medicines, the vaccine may cause side effects in some people. These are common, are usually mild and don’t last long and won’t stop you from having the second dose or going about your daily life.
A reporting form for adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) with COVID-19 vaccines is available on the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) website and is designed to make reporting of AEFIs easier. Please use this form to report all suspected AEFIs for COVID-19 vaccines. You do not have to be certain that the vaccine caused the event in order to report.
Medsafe is actively encouraging healthcare professionals and members of the public to report suspected AEFIs for COVID-19 vaccines to:
Medsafe and regulators across the globe are sharing emerging anonymised safety data. See the data sheet (PDF) and consumer medicine information summary (PDF) for the expected reactions for approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Medsafe is publishing weekly safety monitoring reports associated with COVID-19 vaccination.
ACC can provide treatment and support for injuries caused by COVID-19 vaccination if the criteria for treatment injury are met. This means there’s a physical injury caused by the vaccination, that’s not a necessary part or ordinary consequence of the treatment.
For example, inflammation around the site of the injection is common with COVID-19 vaccination (an ordinary consequence) and is unlikely to be covered. Infections (such as cellulitis or septic arthritis) due to the vaccination, and anaphylaxis resulting in injury, are not ordinary consequences and are likely to be covered.
To make a treatment injury claim for a patient you will need to complete an ACC2152 treatment injury claim form as well as an electronic or manual ACC45 injury claim form.
To help with ACC's reporting, ACC needs to know the COVID-19 vaccine brand name and vaccination dose number (i.e. dose one or two). This can be noted in the following ways.
Further information is in the related resources linked below.
The Ministry of Health advice is under active review - please use their website as the source of correct, up to date information at all times.
Jan Adams, Nursing Director
021 904 460