New Zealand slipping due to slow vaccine rollout

It is worrying that the Government’s slow vaccine rollout has caused New Zealand to slip behind Singapore in Bloomberg’s index of the best places to be during the COVID-19 pandemic, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“New Zealand should be on equal footing with Singapore when it comes to rolling out vaccines given our similar-sized populations and the fact both aren’t suffering the loss of life or surging infection rates seen elsewhere.

“But while Singapore has managed to administer more than 2.2 million vaccines, with almost a quarter of its population having had its first dose, New Zealand is second-slowest in the OECD.

“The Government promised us that New Zealand would be at the front of the queue for vaccines, yet here we are in late April and we have done just 3.8 doses per 100 people.

“A combination of complacency and incompetence with our vaccine programme is putting our economic recovery at risk. New Zealand’s rollout is well behind Australia’s, which has been widely criticised for being on the go-slow.

“We have done well to keep COVID-19 at bay but we must not rest on our laurels. The world is vaccinating way faster than we are, which will give them options for reconnecting to the rest of the world that New Zealand won’t be part of unless we hurry up.

“Our vaccine rollout still has too many red flags. Three of the four IT systems are not ready to go, there’s no real vaccine targets, and the Government even admits it has deliberately slowed the rollout down. 

“The vaccine rollout is critical to New Zealand’s future and we must get it right. Unless the Government gets its eye on the ball we will slip further down the international rankings.”