Labour has no intention to meet end of year vaccine target

Newly-released DHB plans show the Labour Government is planning to break its promise that everyone eligible in New Zealand will be offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Last night, the Ministry of Health quietly uploaded to its website some of the District Health Boards’ plans for the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out created in March and April 2021.

“The plans are totally inconsistent with the Prime Minister’s oft-repeated promise that everyone in New Zealand will be offered a vaccine by the end of the year.

“The Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs combined plan shows that for Group Four, vaccinations will still be occurring in late February 2022.

“In Hawke’s Bay, one of the plan’s objectives is for only 80 per cent of the population to have received two doses by the end of the year.

“Labour is planning to fail, signing off DHB plans that don’t ensure everyone eligible gets a vaccine in the stated timeframe. This is particularly concerning given the most recent Budget is predicated on a vaccinated population by the end of the year.

“It should also worry the Government that around half of the country’s DHBs didn’t bother to submit written plans at all, just numbers, to the Ministry. It is clear some DHB’s ‘plans’ are nothing more than a few pages hastily thrown together.

“Ministers should be demanding comprehensive, well designed plans that ensure everyone in each area can access a vaccine by the end of the year. All DHBs should be expected to submit plans ASAP and release those plans to the public.

“It beggars belief that these plans were not even asked for and produced until March/April 2021. Labour signed vaccine purchase agreements in October 2020 but seems to have done little planning about how the roll-out would work until mid this year.

“It’s unsurprising the Auditor-General was so critical of the vaccine roll-out a couple of months ago. The vaccine roll-out is critical for New Zealand and the Government has proven again and again it simply isn’t up for the job.”