New Zealand officials urged to move faster on vaccinating children aged 5-11

The clock is ticking for the New Zealand government to get children aged five to 11 vaccinated against Covid-19.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said yesterday he expected advice from Medsafe in a couple of weeks and the rollout should start in late January.

But some are urging officials to move faster as a number of schools shut down for days because of infected students or staff.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said while there were no plans at this stage to bring the timeframe forward, it was still under advice.

Bloomfield told Morning Report the reason the rollout would be in January was because vaccination teams would want a bit of break over summer and Christmas, and whānau also were generally on holiday outside their usual place of residence.

"To deliver the programme safely, we need the vaccine available. It's a different formulation so people need to be trained to use it," Bloomfield said.

"And we need to then make sure the programme is ready to roll out. One thing I would say is we have enough vaccination on order to do this entire 5 to 11 year group and every indication that we will be able to get the vaccine."