More than half of New Zealand’s estimated 12,000 border workforce have now received their first vaccinations, as the third batch of vaccines arrives in the country, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

As of midnight Tuesday, a total of 9,431 people had received their first doses. More than 70 per cent of those, which equates to 6,688 people, have been delivered in the Auckland region.

“We are well on our way to ensuring those who are most at risk of COVID-19, the cleaners, nurses who carry out health checks in MIQ, security staff, customs and border officials, hotel workers, airline staff, port authorities and vaccinators will be protected from this virus,” Chris Hipkins said.

“I’m also pleased to confirm that a third shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived safely yesterday afternoon, which adds a further 65,500 doses, bringing the total number of COVID-19 vaccines in New Zealand to 200,000.

“From here, we plan to ramp up the vaccination programme, as we move to vaccinate border worker’s families and household contacts. We will then move on to front line health and emergency staff – those people who may be exposed to COVID-19 while doing their jobs.”

Border worker’s families and household contacts will start to be vaccinated in earnest next week, but in some smaller regions, district health boards have already been able to expand their programmes to include these groups.

“In places like Nelson/Marlborough, the smaller workforce has meant both the border workers and their families have been vaccinated at the same time, with the same batch of doses. This is really good news as it means they will also be protected from the virus, and ahead of schedule.

“I look forward to this rolling out in our main centres from next week.”

No new cases today, two in MIQ

Despite more than 16,000 tests being processed yesterday, no new cases of Covid-19 have been found in the community, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said two new cases were found in managed isolation and quarantine, and one of those was a historical case.

Hipkins and Dr Bloomfield were speaking at the latest 1 pm Covid-19 update, with the weekly Wednesday focus on the vaccine rollout.

Dr Bloomfield had said yesterday that any positive cases that may have resulted from potential exposure to the virus in Auckland last week would start to turn up today.

Hipkins says tests are still coming in, however, and "we're not quite there yet" in terms of being certain the latest cluster has not spread further.