An upcoming technical change to vaccine coverage reporting will see 233,000 more New Zealanders added to the list of
those eligible for their COVID-19 vaccinations, as part of continuous improvements to the vaccination programme.
The change will see Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand move to using updated health system user (HSU) data to report on
vaccination coverage across the motu from next week.
The HSU population counts the number of people in New Zealand who have used health services over a 12-month period.
Until now, 2020 data has been used to calculate vaccination rates, but from Monday 8 August, 2021 data will be used.
“Data like this is invaluable to help inform our planning and vaccination activities – such as where to direct mobile
vaccination clinics, or to organise pop-up vaccinations and other events in areas where uptake may be low,” said Dr Nick
Chamberlain, National Director of the National Public Health Service, Te Whatu Ora.
While moving to the 2021 HSU data would mean a technical decrease in reported vaccination rates overall due to the
larger number of eligible New Zealanders being identified, Dr Chamberlain said it did not mean any fewer people were
“Despite this technical change, the total number of people aged over 12 who’ve had at least two vaccinations has risen
from 3.63 million at the beginning of December 2021, to 3.98 million as at 1 August 2022. And with thousands of people
still being vaccinated every day, and more than 11.1 million vaccinations given to New Zealanders aged 5 and up so far,
coverage remains very high.”
New Zealand remains one of the world's most highly vaccinated countries for COVID-19, sitting in the top half of the
group of OECD nations. Our international rating reported by Our World in Data (sourced from the United Nations World
Population Prospects) will not change with the transition to HSU 2021.
“The added benefit of moving to the updated dataset is that it has helped us identify a large group of New Zealanders
who have engaged with the health system over the past year – thanks in large part to the success of the largest
vaccination programme in the nation’s history. This means we are better placed than ever to reach out to those people
and ensure they are encouraged to be up to date with their vaccinations if they haven’t already done so,” Dr Chamberlain
“The updated data also complements our wider suite of vaccination initiatives, such as a $3.52m investment to increase
the data capability of Māori providers – as well as on the ground activity, including the recent rollout of Te Whātoro,
a set of mobile vaccination vans run by iwi health providers in Northland.”
Dr Andrew Old, Deputy Director-General of the Public Health Agency for Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health, said it was
pleasing that continued use of the HSU had also been endorsed by Stats NZ, following a recent review being released
today, along with recommendations for improvement.
“Manatū Hauora requested the Stats NZ peer review as part of our commitment to continuously improve the way we collect
data to report on vaccination rates, and we welcome their recommendations. Aside from one recommendation that we are
still working through with other agencies, every other recommendation has been accepted and we are actively working to
implement them. This includes updating the HSU data every six months.
“The changes we’ve made, in collaboration with Stats NZ, will ensure the HSU can continue to be used for the vaccine
programme into the future and applied to other health programmes where this would be useful,” Dr Old said.The Stats NZ review can be found here https://www.stats.govt.nz/reports/review-of-health-service-user-population-methodology