Monday, 30 August 2021

Transparency needed on vaccine supply and inter-household transmission


“The Government needs to up its transparency on two crucial numbers in its COVID response, vaccine supply and how much transmission is between households,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Prime Minister has dodged obvious questions about vaccine supply, when publicly available numbers suggest the Government may run out this week at the ‘incredible news’ rate of 90,000 doses per day.

“Ninety thousand doses per day is 630,000 doses per week, but the weekend’s delivery was only 320,000 doses, down from 380,000 the previous week. Three hundred and twenty thousand doses per week is enough for 45,000 doses per day, half the ‘incredible news’ rate of 90,000 doses per day. Otherwise it is using up its reserves.

“According to the Ministry of Health website the last reported stocks were 459,000, available on Sunday August 22. If that’s the buffer, then we’ll run out some time this week.

"In contrast, last Sunday, Chris Hipkins said that the Government had 750,000 doses in total. In that case, they might have a couple of weeks of reserves before running out.

“One way or another, people deserve the truth. With the current level of transparency Jacinda Ardern might as well be Jack Nicholson shouting ‘you can’t handle the truth!’

“The people deserve to know:

• What the total reserves does the Government have?
• When will it run out at current rates?
• What will it do to slow down vaccination rates?
• Will ‘slowing down’ mean delaying booked appointments, and;
• What is it doing to get more doses faster?

“The Government also needs to be transparent on the crucial numbers of how many new cases are between households, post-lockdown? We can handle the truth about cases transmitted between households pre-lockdown and we can handle the truth about transmission within households post-lockdown. What we need to know is how many new cases are between households since Alert Level 4 went into place?

“There is no excuse for not reporting this number. We are in our 12th day of lockdown and testing is done five days after infection. There should be several days of test data for people who have been at a location of interest during lockdown, or felt symptomatic. It should not be difficult to say if contact tracers can link them to other people in their household.

“COVID is hard, and it may be about to get harder. New Zealanders know the Government’s response is not perfect, all we want is the truth."