Our intentions: Looking at how well the Government is planning and managing the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out

25 February 2021: New Zealand is at a critical point in its Covid-19 response. An effective vaccination programme is essential to protect the safety and well-being of the public, and to limit the economic costs of community outbreaks and border closures.

The first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine arrived in New Zealand on 15 February, and the first vaccinations of border workers began on 19 February. Next to be vaccinated are border workers’ close contacts, health care and essential workers, and those at highest risk if they contract Covid-19. The nationwide roll-out is currently planned for the second half of 2021.

We have decided to carry out a review of the vaccination programme while it is being planned and through the early stages of roll-out.

What we’re focusing on

We want to provide an independent view to the public and Parliament about how the Government is planning and managing the Covid-19 vaccination programme. This will include how the Government has gone about procuring the vaccine, establishing the vaccination programme, and how it is managing the most important risks.

To do this, we will:

  • assess how well set up the programme is;
  • assess how well the associated systems and processes are working to date; and
  • identify any areas for improvement so action can be taken.

This review is the first phase of our intended work on the vaccination programme. Later, we intend to look at how the vaccination programme is progressing and how it is being managed, and form an overall assessment of how effectively the vaccination programme has been managed.

The difference we expect to make

Our report will make observations about progress to date and how well positioned we consider the programme is for the nationwide roll-out scheduled for the second half of 2021. 

By carrying out this review during the programme’s planning stage, and the early stage of the roll-out, we can identify any potential improvements in the Ministry of Health’s approach so these can be acted on swiftly.

We will meet with the Ministry of Health regularly to keep it informed of our findings. However, the management and assurance of the programme remains the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. Our role is to provide information and assurance to Parliament and the public.

Please use the feedback form on the right if you’d like to make a suggestion or ask a question.

We expect to report to Parliament in May 2021.