18 Feb 2024
The Labour Government has recklessly delayed vaccine shipments to New Zealand, putting the health and freedom of all New Zealanders at risk, National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
In June Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins revealed he was speaking with Pfizer to deliver some of the doses that were originally supposed to arrive in September, to instead arrive in October and November.
“Because the Government unbelievably pushed back our vaccine delivery, we now risk running out of vaccines,” Mr Bishop says.
“A Delta outbreak in our largely unvaccinated population has caused the country to lock down once again, with vaccination our only pathway out of lockdown, yet the Government has been deliberately slowing down our vaccine supply.
“It’s great that Kiwis have been showing enthusiasm to go and get vaccinated, the Government should be matching that enthusiasm by encouraging Kiwis to get the jab, not calling for a little less demand, as well as making sure we have enough supply.
“Instead it’s doing the opposite.
“New Zealand’s vaccine rollout has been negligently slow, now that it’s finally ramping up the Prime Minister says demand needs to lessen because her Government slowed down our vaccine shipments.
“This is incompetence on a grand scale. Right at the moment demand is surging, the Government can’t meet it.
“Labour’s complacency has cost New Zealanders.
“New Zealand signed contracts with vaccine manufacturers late, we got around to ordering our vaccine later than other countries, we refused to offer an incentive payment to Pfizer for earlier delivery, and we still haven’t got around to ordering any booster shots.
“This lockdown happened because our vaccination rate was too slow. It could go on for a lot longer now because the Government delayed the vaccine supplies we need to get ourselves out of lockdowns.”