COVID-19 vaccine

Group 3 COVID-19 vaccinations well under way


The COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Whanganui, Rangitikei and south Ruapehu area has moved on to the Group 3 population.


Group 3 comprises those aged 65 or over; those with relevant underlying health conditions; Māori and Pasifika aged 50 and over; pregnant women; and the disabled and those who care for them. This is more than 23,000 members of our community.


With such a large group we need the flexibility to respond to the needs of our local communities. At times, this could mean vaccinating some priority groups ahead of others.


The large number of people seeking the protection of the Pfizer vaccine has put pressure on the booking system, and some people phoning the 0800 888 479 booking number have been unable to get through.


Whanganui DHB asks for people to be patient and advises that those who cannot get through should leave a message – name, date of birth and contact number – and they will be called back within a week.


It is only necessary to call once and leave one message. You will be called back and, remember, everybody over the age of 16 will get the vaccine … it will just take a while.


Relevant underlying health conditions for Group 3:


  • Those who have a health condition that means they are eligible for a publicly-funded influenza vaccine
  • Those who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness (which includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder, and adults currently accessing secondary and tertiary mental health and addiction services)
  • Those who have poorly controlled or severe hypertension/high blood pressure (generally defined as requiring two or more medications for control or, not currently under adequate control)
  • Those who are severely overweight (defined as a BMI ≥40).

Access to the COVID-19 vaccine for disabled people


For the purposes of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to Group 3, disabled people includes anyone who has an impairment that:

  • is expected to last for six months or longer, and
  • limits their ability to carry out daily activities and/or participate in society on an equal basis to others. This can be due to the interaction of your impairment with societal and environmental barriers such as inaccessibility, rather than caused by the impairment itself.

This includes impairments that are:

  • physical
  • neurological
  • mental/psychiatric
  • intellectual
  • sensory
  • other types of impairment.


We are continuing to vaccinate those people in Group 2


You are in Group 2 if you:

  • are a high-risk frontline healthcare workers
  • are a frontline emergency worker
  • work in a long-term residential environment
  • live in long-term residential care and are 16 or over
  • are an older Māori or Pacific person being cared for by whānau

The vaccination is expected to be rolled out to the rest of the population – Group 4 – from 28 July.

If you are in the general population for vaccinations, you’ll be offered your turn based on age bands – it’s a simple approach, and it means we start with older people and work down.


The leadership team, made up of Whanganui District Health Board, Whanganui Regional Health Network, Hauora ā Iwi, the National Hauora Coalition, Māori Health Outcomes Advisory Group, iwi and Māori health services will ensure easy access for all, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable in our community, including Māori and Pacific populations which are most at risk from the virus.


The COVID-19 vaccine is free, safe and effective, and is being made available for everyone in New Zealand aged 16 years and above.


It has been approved for use after meeting stringent international standards and equally robust New Zealand requirements for quality, safety and effectiveness. 



Straight Up with Dr. Lily Fraser - Pakeke | Ministry of Health NZ

Straight Up with Dr Lily is designed to answer a few of the main questions that have been on the minds of pakeke, tamariki and the wider whānau. Is it safe? Is it free? Who can get it, and when and where can whānau get it?