Govt’s IT systems aren’t ready for vaccine rollout

It is worrying that on the eve of the largest vaccination programme New Zealand has ever seen, three of the four key parts to our vaccine IT system aren’t ready to go, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“We’re about to undertake the biggest vaccination programme in living memory and our IT systems are nowhere near ready. This is not good enough.

“It’s not like a large-scale vaccination programme is a new idea. The Government has known for months that this would be happening in 2021.”

There are four key parts to our vaccine IT system, they are:

  1. Immunisation system – this records who has received the vaccine.

  2. Booking system – this allows people to book a slot to get a vaccination.

  3. Recall system – since the Pfizer vaccination requires two doses we need to be able to notify people to come and get their second shot.

  4. Inventory management – this is very important as it tracks where the actual vaccines are

The recall system and inventory management are both still in development, and while a provider has been selected for the booking system, it’s still not up and running.

Mr Bishop says a mass vaccination programme has always been on the cards and the Government should have been preparing long ago to avoid any delays once vaccines arrived.

“We started talking about the arrival of a vaccine in the middle of last year. The first purchase agreement was signed with Pfizer in October. Surely that should have been the trigger point to get on with developing the background systems that would be needed for the vaccine roll out.

“New Zealand is already behind the rest of the world. We were nowhere near the front of the queue – as we were promised – for receiving vaccines. More than 50 countries started vaccinating their populations before our supplies had even arrived.

“The success of this vaccine programme is critical to our recovery from COVID-19. The Government needs to get the rollout right. We can’t afford any delays.”