Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Surprise, vaccine rollout stuck in first gear


“When vaccines hit our shores earlier than Ministers expected last month and our first vaccinations started a day ahead of Australia, there was much glee among some in the commentariat that New Zealand might catch up with the rest of the world,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“This wasn’t surprising, given how far we’d slipped from the front of the queue Chris Hipkins told us we’d be leading.

“We were the 88th or 89th country in the world to begin vaccinating, depending on which lists you follow.

“The Prime Minister was even asked by a member of the media how it felt to be outstripping the Aussies in delivering the vaccine.

“She was right to demur in her response, because today, despite the Australian Government copping plenty of heat from its media for the apparent slow pace of its rollout, it’s delivering more than 10 times more doses each day than New Zealand.

Latest figures from Bloomberg show Australia delivering 12,217 doses to its people a day, while New Zealand is jabbing just 1171.

“As of 16 March 161,873 Australians had received their first dose and some are starting to receive their second. As of last Wednesday New Zealand's number was around 18,000.

“It’s possible we’ll get a more up to date number from the Government today, but that goes to another problem with our rollout. Australians can go to any number of daily vaccination rate sources, like this one from the ABC, because the States and Federal Government publish daily numbers.

“New Zealand doesn’t – we have to wait for a weekly stand-up from Chris Hipkins and Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

“The difference in the two vaccine rollouts is one country was ready, with a plan, and one country wasn’t. It’s that simple.

“As Dr Bloomfield admitted at last Wednesday’s media update, his people are still working out the fundamentals of how New Zealanders will be vaccinated, including whether there will be a region-by-region element to it.

“All this reinforces ACT’s call for centralising New Zealand’s response to pandemics into a specialist unit, a feature of our COVID Response Plan 2.0.

“COVID-19 will be with us in some form for years, and until fundamental change is made to how we respond to it we will keep bumbling along with a second-rate response.

“New Zealanders deserve better.”

ENDS