“New Zealanders deserve to have clarity on what the vaccination target is and when we can get back to living our lives,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“When Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the target should be 90 percent, he directly contradicted the COVID-19 Minister and the Prime Minister, throwing the response into uncertain chaos.
“Certainty matters for all those people trying to plan their personal and commercial affairs, and it is difficult enough without the Government changing tack every two weeks.
“Just 17 days ago I asked Chris Hipkins what it meant to ‘complete the vaccine roll out,’ he replied: “The epidemiologists have been very clear that setting a numerical target… is not necessarily the best way forward for New Zealand. Our goal is unambiguous, which is to ensure that every New Zealander who is eligible has the opportunity to get a vaccination’
“The same day I asked the Prime Minister ‘Does she agree with Chris Hipkins' statement to the House earlier today that the vaccination programme will be complete when everybody eligible has had an opportunity for a dose, and, if so, when does she believe that will occur on her current forecasts?’ She replied ‘Of course…”
“So, what happens now. If we get to the end of the year, and everyone has had a chance to be vaccinated but fewer than 90 per cent have, what happens then? Do 10.1 percent of New Zealanders get to hold the country to ransom?
“At present, there are approximately 4.2 million eligible New Zealanders, 1.5 million on both doses, a further 1.5 million needing their second dose, and around 1.2 million who have not had either dose.
“To get to 90 per cent, there need to be a further 3.1 million doses. At the current seven day rolling average of 62 thousand per day, that could be done in 50 days, or by the second week of November plus several weeks for delay between shots.
“To give everybody an opportunity there would need to be 3.9 million ‘opportunities.’ This could be done in less than 70 days at current rates, by the end of November.
“Either way, the Government should be signalling when it will move, people need certainty about how it will respond when we either get to 90 percent or run out of willing people, either scenario is less than two months away.
“ACT believes the Government should give a clear plan and certainty. Once everyone has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, we will stop using lockdowns. Setting a target puts the choice with a minority of other people, ACT's plan puts the choice with you.”