No more excuses for the Govt’s vaccine shambles

Confirmation that a million doses of the Pfizer vaccine coming in July removes the last remaining excuse for the Government’s pathetically slow COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, National COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“The Government said we would be at the front of the queue, but New Zealand is the second slowest in the OECD and 115th in the entire world.

“This is hardly the ‘year of the vaccine’ that the Prime Minister promised.

“The Government still needs to explain why there are 3800 border workers who are yet to have a single vaccine dose. The vaccinating of Group 1 border workers was meant to be completed by the end of March.

“To make matters worse, around half of the household contacts of border and MIQ workers have not had a single dose. This means thousands of high risk people remain very vulnerable. It’s just not good enough.

“The Government quietly moved the goalposts for the roll-out of Group 3 in late April from ‘May’ to ‘end of May’, and then did the same for Group 4, shifting the start date from ‘July’ to ‘end of July’. Group 3 is still waiting as we enter the second week of June.

“MPs around the country are being contacted by people in Group 3 who have no idea when they will get the vaccine. DHBs, GPs, and pharmacists have no idea either.

“In summary, the booking and IT systems are a mess, there aren’t enough staff, communication has been poor, the Government has had lacklustre reporting, and the roll-out is slow. And yet, this Government is constantly telling us everything is going to plan.

“Are they planning to fail? The Government looks set to fail to meet its target of everyone being offered a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year; just as the Auditor-General has warned.”