Labour expects NZ to believe vaccine rollout is successful

New Zealanders were promised that they would be at the ‘front of the queue’ but the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues to be behind schedule and poorly communicated, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“This was meant to be the ‘Year of the Vaccine’ but just like the ‘Year of Delivery’ resulted in the KiwiBuild and light rail fiasco, the vaccination roll-out is failing.

“We are dead last in the OECD in terms of vaccinations administered per 100 people, and 120th in the world. Far from being at the front of the queue, we are at the back.

“Our largely unvaccinated population is still vulnerable to Covid-19 in the community, which is a possibility that should be taken seriously with the Delta variant spreading around the world. The best way to protect against future lockdowns and future community transmission is to vaccinate as many people as possible.

“New Zealand did well last year but the Government has become complacent. They are resting on their laurels when they should be taking advantage of the extraordinary luck we have being Covid-19-free. They should be speeding up the vaccination programme and considering how New Zealand opens to the world again.

“Other countries are doing it, so why aren’t we? The world is opening up and we will only be able to watch as trade and tourism overseas returns to much more normal levels.

“Today’s announcement, about how Group 4 vaccinations will work, is a poor attempt to paper over the fact there are still thousands of workers in Group 1 who have not yet received a single vaccine dose, and only half of Group 2 has been fully vaccinated.

“Our front-line border workers were meant to have been vaccinated by the end of March. Yet here we are in mid-June and thousands have yet to get a single shot.

“The national booking system is still not ready to go, the government has no real targets, DHBs don’t know how many of their staff have been vaccinated, and the Government keeps moving the goalposts back to accommodate their repeated failures to meet loose targets.

“The vaccine rollout is critical for opening New Zealand up to the rest of the world. The Government must get this right.”