Pub quiz prize for Government’s vaccine rollout

New Zealand’s vaccine rollout is, in fact a ‘winner’ – having just pipped Mexico to be the second slowest in the developed world, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“Based on their own data, Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins told the House yesterday we were no longer the slowest country in the OECD for vaccine delivery. We were, in fact, the second slowest, behind Mexico.

“So it’s with pleasure we award the PM and her Minister the title of ‘second-best losers’. But hold the pub quiz meat tray – we’ve now got the third-slowest country in our sights.

“So look out, Colombia.

“But, rather than celebrating this amazing global ‘success’, the Government needs to buckle down and lift its vaccine game.

“The single most important thing this Government will do this term is vaccinating our population. Vaccination keeps us healthy and reduces the need for lockdowns. It is the only pathway to opening up our country to the rest of the world.

“The Prime Minister told New Zealand we would be at the ‘front of the queue’ for vaccination.  

“Surely, then, being second-last in the developed world gives the Government every reason to step up. According to the Reuters COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, 83 per cent of the total population of Portugal has already received at least one vaccination dose. Italy has achieved 70 per cent of its entire population.

“National is challenging the Government to set a vaccination target. We know vaccination reduces transmission of Covid, reduces the scale of outbreaks and the size and duration of lockdowns.

“Vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible will reduce the chance of further lockdowns.

“Let’s target 70 per cent of our eligible population vaccinated by the end of October. At that level, national level lockdowns won’t be an issue and any outbreaks we do have will spread slower, be smaller in size and stamped out faster.

“The biggest issue right now, however, is having the supply of vaccine in the country needed to achieve this goal. It appears clear the Government still has no idea what’s happening on that front.”