Monday, 25 January 2021

Why aren't we on Australia's vaccine timeline?

“News this morning that Australia’s medical regulator has approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in Australia, clearing the way for Australians to be vaccinated from next month, begs the question why New Zealand is on such a different timetable,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“If we’re constantly sharing information with our Aussie cousins, as the Government insists we are, why is it taking our medical regulator, Medsafe, longer to approve the Pfizer vaccine?

“And what do we think Medsafe might discover that the Australians haven’t?

“It is becoming clearer by the day that while the Government made brash statements about New Zealand being at the front of the queue for vaccines, we’ve actually been poor negotiators and complacent about implementing our programme.

“Other countries’ experience of Covid-19 is not a good reason for allowing ourselves to fall to the back of the queue.

Already 56 countries have begun vaccinating an average 3.38 million doses a day, according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Tracker.

“Ministers need to be upfront and tell New Zealanders why we’ve negotiated a worse deal than Australia and are no longer on anything like the same timeline as them for vaccination.

“After all, Australia expects to have vaccinated almost the entire population of New Zealand before we’ve even gotten out of the starting gates.”