“News compiled by Bloomberg that there are now 49 countries with Covid-19 vaccination campaigns underway piles more pressure on the Government to tell us when our vaccines will arrive and when jabs can begin,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“I know New Zealand is in a better position than many countries around the world battling Covid, but as the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Professor Andrew Pollard told The ABC earlier today, there is a very strong case for getting all populations vaccinated as soon as possible.
“That’s because the risk of further transmission is high everywhere, especially given the extremely virulent strains now circulating.
“Yet a big question mark hangs over whether New Zealand will be able to act on Professor Pollard’s advice to vaccinate swiftly.
“Countries have been starting vaccination programmes at the rate of about 10 a week since December.
“If that continues, and based on the extremely loose timelines of ‘the second quarter’ given by the Government, there could be well over 100 countries vaccinating before New Zealand even starts.
“We know Australia’s vaccination programme will be up and running in mid-to-late February.
“Why is a country like New Zealand looking like it might be one of the last developed countries in the world to begin a vaccination programme?
“The stakes couldn’t be higher, but complacency has become the byword for our Covid 19 response on so many fronts.”