PM Jacinda Ardern delivered the good news this morning, after weeks of criticism from her political rivals.
A mobile phone screen displays an image of Corowa-kun, the mascot of an online chatbot set up to answer questions about Covid 19 vaccines in Japan.
According to Kyodo News, Japan announced last month that it had made a deal with Pfizer to buy 144 million shots - but without enough syringes to extract final doses, the country will have to revise the number of deliverable doses to 120 million.
The government has defended its cautious approach to the vaccine rollout. The authorisation by Cabinet ministers came after the vaccine was given provisional approval by Medsafe last week.
UNICEF announced today the signing of an agreement with Pfizer on behalf of the COVAX Facility for the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine through 2021.
Hipkins said border workers would be vaccinated at their workplaces and their household contacts would be asked to go to a dedicated place to get their jabs.
"That means we should be in a position, all things going to plan, to start vaccinating our border workers from next Saturday, the 20th of February". The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 to 8 C, making it easier to handle, but is less effective at around 70%.
"Our first priority is out border workers, our first line of defence who interact with returnees who may potentially have the virus every day".
Vaccines for the elderly will likely start in April, followed by people with underlying health conditions and workers at care facilities for the elderly.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is one of two jabs now being issued in the UK.
A nurse prepares syringes for a coronavirus vaccination drill in Kawasaki on January 27.
"It can still go both ways at this point", said Dr Yamada, one of the 10 young Japanese physicians who helped create the dog chatbot to spread lessons learned from overseas vaccination efforts and to counter social media rumours.
"The vaccine is important for protecting our health, our economy, our current freedoms", she said.
Children under 16 years old will not be allowed to get the jab while trials are still under way on how the Pfizer vaccination affects children.
The Government will only take ownership of the vaccines once they are transferred to its fridges, and Hipkins was unable to comment on how Pfizer was transporting the batches.
Last year, the Government indicated the vaccine would arrive in the second quarter of this year. The timeline was this year updated to the first quarter. The company said in early February it would meet its contractual commitments for the first quarter and pledged to send up to 75 million extra doses to the European Union in the spring.