The Ministry of Health has detailed how the online booking tool for the Covid-19 vaccination works.
Deputy general manager of data and digital, Shayne Hunter, said people will not receive an invitation to book until it is their turn, even if they register their contact details.
“The new system can handle high volumes of bookings,” he said, adding that this was the first time it has been used in New Zealand.
Hunter said the system is in use around the world and has just been launched in Western Australia. He said those who wanted help with reservations could always call the national helpline and people would have to make two reservations three weeks apart to get the full shot.
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The online reservation system will be operational from July 28, and National Digital Services group director Michael Dreyer said the system will be continuously updated.
Earlier in June, the government presented its plan to roll out vaccines for the general group 4 population, who can start getting vaccinated from the end of July.
Dreyer said Book My Vaccine was intended for anyone in Group 4 and those in other groups who had not been vaccinated.
People over 60 would be invited to book from July 28 by email, letter, text or phone call, Dreyer said, adding that the booking process was very straightforward.
People will be asked to book a location first, then the date and time, to make two appointments at least 21 days apart, and then provide a few details to help streamline the process when people are getting together. present for their vaccination.
An email or text will confirm the reservation and if people need to change their reservation, they can click “confirm details” and “book”.
Dreyer said all consumer data will be treated very seriously and reservations could be made on behalf of other people.
Providing details would help ensure a “fast and smooth experience” when they show up for their vaccination, and reminder notices sent to people the day before their vaccination.
When asked how long it took to develop the system, Hunter replied that it had been a few months since he entered the district health board systems, and a few months before that it had been developed. .
Hunter said the immunization schedule and vaccine management and safety oversight had all been a priority before the development of Manage My Reservation.
Hunter said there were still plans to use the tool when the country switched to mass immunization of the general population.
The system could handle hundreds of thousands of reservations, he said. “We have a fairly good register of people registered with a general practice. “
General practitioners would receive vaccination notices. While some appointments were possible, it was best for people to use the reservation system, he said. Otherwise, people might want to get in touch with their GPs.
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People should wait to be invited and do the right thing by not trying to get vaccinated before their turn, Hunter said, because “we have a streak of age groups that we want to pass.”
The team had tried to make the system accessible to people with disabilities, although they said they were not aware of the details.
“We’ve done a lot of work on privacy,” Hunter said of a data security question, adding that data security people outside the ministry had reviewed the system.
Several hundred vaccination sites had entered the system, along with dates and times. “There’s a lot of background work,” Hunter said.
A team of people has been tasked with deploying training in the use of the system to all immunization centers in the country. “We didn’t rush, but we went quickly,” said Hunter, adding that he was confident that no step had been missed.
“It’s a unique system used by everyone.
With the second bookings, he said the number of days or weeks between appointments varied overseas, but New Zealand had opted for a minimum gap of 21 days. Reminders would be sent to those who had booked only one dose, but that was the responsibility of DHB.
There would be no specific requirement to show ID when arriving to be vaccinated, but people were given a QR code that could be scanned.
Dreyer said DHB reservation records would be migrated into the department’s system, the largest being the current 100,000 northern DHB reservations. All this work was to be completed by the end of the month.
Hunter said the system didn’t cost the $ 38 million that at least one reviewer accused the department of spending. He wasn’t specific on the cost, but agreed with Dreyer’s estimate of less than $ 3 million in total.
Speaking of the development, he said what has been achieved is incredible, with up to 10 million doses to be administered. He said the team were “phenomenal” and “made the country proud”.
Group 4 deployment plan
From July 28, people 60 years of age and over will be able to get vaccinated. Then from August 11, those over 55 will have their turn.
Gradually and depending on the vaccine supply, reservations will open for those over 45 from mid-August to the end of August, followed by those over 35 from mid-September to the end of September.
The health ministry said everyone will become eligible for the vaccine from October and that there is no cut-off time once an age bracket is announced.