While the authorities are working on the details of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, general practitioners hope the shots will be free unless consultation is required.
Consultations are usually not required for vaccinations so most people will have them done by a nurse, said Dr Bryan Betty, medical director at New Zealand Royal College of General Practitioners.
He hopes that the time and equipment for nurses will be borne by the government.
“The understanding is that there will be no cost barrier to getting vaccinated, and this will be the hope of doctors across the country,” he told the Herald.
Vaccination for the general public is slated to begin in the second half of 2021, in what is called the largest full-scale vaccination campaign in New Zealand history.
The government has announced that Covid-19 vaccination will be free and voluntary for everyone in the country regardless of visa status.
“We have bought enough vaccines to cover all New Zealanders and are doing it for free,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
Border workers and managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) will be the first to be vaccinated starting Saturday in Auckland, followed by their household contacts.
They include cleaners, nurses performing MIQ health checks, security personnel, customs and border officials, airline staff and hotel workers.
The second group of people to receive the vaccine were health workers and essential workers in the second quarter of this year.
Responding to the Herald’s inquiries, the Ministry of Health said DHB was leading this initial launch, but that common practice will play an important role in the general public phase.
Funding arrangements will be worked out near the date and doctors will be “given the resources to do this (vaccination) in a safe and timely manner”, said a spokesman.
Whether consultation fees will be funded has not been discussed at this time, Betty said, but most vaccinations must be done once without consultation.
“In terms of immunization rollouts, I don’t think so [consultations] will be part of the funding, because that will be the decision of the patient when vaccinating, “said Betty.
The country’s first batch of Covid-19 vaccine arrived on Monday.
Manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, it is approved for use in New Zealand for people 16 years and over. Under 16 years of age were not included at this time because they were not part of the clinical trial.
New Zealand has purchase agreements for three other Covid-19 vaccines, which are made by Janssen, Noravax and AstraZeneca.