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Hawke’s Bay woman stunned after being offered Covid vaccine - 'I'm definitely not priority'

A Hawke's Bay woman is perplexed as to why she was offered the Covid-19 vaccine despite not being eligible.

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The woman said she was called and told her vaccine was ready, despite never having been an essential worker or having any close contacts in a priority group. Source: 1 NEWS

They're currently only available to border staff, front line health workers and their close contacts as well as people living in high-risk areas.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, told 1 NEWS she was called and told her vaccine was ready as an essential worker.

"I was a bit taken aback by that because I am not an essential worker or don't have anything to do with the border."

None of her family or close contacts are part of the current priority groups either. 

"My response was, 'Why am I on your list?' and she was like, 'Oh, you are an essential worker', to which I said, 'I'm not. I don't work in anything to do with that'," she says.

"I was still told it was allocated to me and I was able to come in and have it if I wanted it."

She double-checked her details with the caller who confirmed she had the right person. 

"So my response to them was I'm sure there are other people out there that need it more than me," she says.

"It was a little bit concerning that I made it onto a priority list when I'm definitely not priority." 

National Māori Pandemic Group member Dr Rawiri Jansen says errors like this will occur throughout the rollout of the vaccine, but believes the booking system needs to get better.   

"One of the areas we need to get better in is having a booking system that really can manage the type of volume that we need," he says.

"Right now we know the booking system is a bit of bottleneck, it isn't working as well as we like and we need it to work much better." 

He says leftover vaccines should be prioritised to Māori.

"Discretion has privileged other groups and now the opportunity is that discretion reaches Māori people who are eligible for the vaccine and reaches them early."

Hawke's Bay DHB told 1 NEWS that it was an issue for the Ministry of Health, who said the woman was "phoned in error".

"Fortunately, the correct individual has now received their vaccination against Covid-19 and the individual who was incorrectly phoned, as they rightly pointed out, is not imminently scheduled for a Covid-19 vaccine at this stage," it said in a written statement. 

"The Ministry of Health thanks this individual for bringing this matter to its attention and apologises for the confusion. The Ministry is looking into what led to this error to determine what steps need to be taken to help prevent similar issues from happening in future."