New Zealand remaining last in the OECD for the speed of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out can be partly explained by the fact New Zealand only ordered Pfizer vaccines on January 29 this year, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.
“Answers to Written Parliamentary Questions show New Zealand only raised its first purchase order with Pfizer on 29 January. New Zealand ordered just 56 trays, amounting to just 65,520 vaccine doses (at six doses per vial).
“A condition of New Zealand’s agreement with Pfizer was that no product could be shipped until Medsafe granted approval of the vaccine, which occurred on 3 February, and the order arrived on 15 February.
“However that doesn’t explain why New Zealand only ordered doses on the January 29, and only ordered so few.
“New Zealand’s advance purchase agreement with Pfizer was signed on 12 October and it was the first vaccine agreement we signed. The Government should’ve then immediately ordered as many doses as possible and moved as quickly as possible to approve the vaccine use in New Zealand.
“Pfizer was approved in the UK on December 2 and at the time it was approved in New Zealand on February 3, it had been approved in more than 50 countries.
“Kiwis are now bearing the brunt of poor, and slow, decision making by the Government. It got complacent after New Zealanders did such a good job through 2020 in eliminating the virus from the country.
“The Government was slow to sign vaccine contracts and now it’s been revealed it was slow to even order the vaccines once those contracts were in place.
“New Zealand’s vaccine roll out is the slowest in the developed world, with just 29.12 doses per 100 people administered, well behind Australia (39.49), Colombia (46.16) and Turkey (75.21).
“Just over 10 per cent of our population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, putting us at serious risk of an outbreak of community transmission if the delta strain makes it across the border and into the community.
“New Zealanders are getting tired of the excuses Labour is making about our slow vaccine roll out. They just want to be vaccinated.”
You can read the answers to Written Parliamentary Questions (WPQ) here.
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