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Govt sets up 0800 number for vaccine appointments

The Ministry of Health says an 0800 number will be live today so people in group three who have not yet received their Covid-19 vaccination can make an appointment.

A nurse prepares a Covid vaccine. Source: Associated Press

Jo Gibbs, National Director of the Covid-19 Vaccine and Immunisation Programme, says the 0800 number will provide booking support and vaccination information. Advisers will also answer clinical questions.

Those people eligible for the group 3 timeframe are those who are at risk of getting very sick from Covid-19.

It includes those who are aged 65 or over, have a relevant underlying health condition, are disabled or are in a position of caring for a person with a disability. It also includes those who are pregnant (any trimester), or are an adult in a custodial setting.

Gibbs says district health boards are making good progress in sending out invitations to people in group 3.

“They’ve been contacting people by email, text, phone call and through the post.

“We do recognise though that there are some people who haven’t yet heard from us, and there are a number of reasons for this.

“If you’re not enrolled with a health provider or have not updated your contact details, or have outdated patient records, then we may not have been able to contact you.

“This new number means that if you’re 65 or over, have an underlying health condition, if you’re disabled, caring for someone who is disabled, or if you’re pregnant, you’re definitely in group 3 and can book your vaccination from today by calling the Covid Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26.

“There’s a team of more than 1,300 advisers, working in shifts, ready to take calls. They are supported by paramedics and nurses who can answer any clinical questions.

“They’ll be happy to help with translation services if you need them – they have access to more than 150 languages.”

The Covid Vaccination Healthline is open between 8am - 8pm, 7 days a week. More than 650 team members will be rostered throughout the day, working in shifts.

Gibbs says the Healthline teams work across the country, within communities. Some work from their homes, and others are based in contact centres in Kaikohe, Kaitaia, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch.

“We want everyone in group 3 to have an opportunity to book their vaccine appointment before we open bookings to the 60-plus age band on July 28,” she says. “That’s also when the online booking tool, Book My Vaccine, will be available.”

Covid Vaccination Healthline facts: 

- Between now and Christmas, based on the national vaccination rollout plan, the Covid Vaccination Healthline is expecting to speak to more than 2.5 million New Zealanders
- The Covid Vaccination Healthline has been built off the foundation of Healthline; a trusted service that New Zealanders have been using for 20 years
- Healthline is internationally recognised for its clinical quality and care

To get everyone on board and ready, the Covid Vaccination Healthline team has:
- Completed more than 4,500 recruitment interviews
- Delivered 31,200 hours of training
- Configured and deployed 1,000 desktops