“When I asked less than a month ago whether New Zealand would be in the second 50 countries to begin vaccinating its citizens against Covid-19 or the third, I was half joking, not really thinking 100 countries could start before us,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“After all, at that point only 49 countries had gotten vaccinations underway and the Government was trying to get an early batch of Pfizer doses to protect our most vulnerable border and MIQ workers.
“It seemed a reasonable bet we’d get our act together in time to be one of the second 50.
“But those odds are worsening every day as countries with a huge range of coronavirus experiences receive their vaccine and start down the path to herd immunity.
“The Government hasn’t said a word about its request for early doses of the Pfizer vaccine for over two weeks now, and meanwhile the global count is 73 countries having administered 134 million doses of vaccine at a rate of 4.74 million doses a day.
“That’s one country a day since I raised this issue in mid-January and there are 50 days before the Government expects to receive our first vaccine at the end of March.
“If vaccine rollouts continue at their present pace there will be 123 countries vaccinating before we even start – almost 65 per cent of countries in the world.
“Regardless of our country’s unique experience of the pandemic it’s not good enough for us to be at the back of the queue.”