Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate

There is one clear message from the release of the Skegg report – it is imperative we vaccinate as many as people as possible, as quickly as possible, says Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins.

“New Zealand is the slowest in the OECD in rolling-out the COVID-19 vaccine, and ranked only 120th in the world. As a result we are sitting ducks for the delta variant of COVID, which public health experts have now said New Zealand is liable to have in the community this year.

“The sooner we vaccinate, the sooner we can begin reopening of our borders. But Government lethargy is letting New Zealand down.”

“We were slow to sign an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer, we were slow to approve the vaccine, and we were slow to order our first doses, only getting around to it on January 29 this year.”

“Now, despite other western countries ordering hundreds of millions of doses of Pfizer vaccine booster shots for 2022 and 2023, New Zealand still hasn’t got around to it. This beggars belief, given the mistakes made in the last quarter of 2020, which are now manifesting in the slow roll-out this year.

“We are calling, once again, for a target or targets to be set by Government for vaccination coverage. We believe a target would encourage uptake by mobilising the team of five million to come together behind a common goal. It would focus the system on achieving that target, and hold the Government to account for reaching it, or not reaching it.

“My suspicion is that the Government doesn’t want to set a target in case it fails, as it has on so many other metrics. That’s not good enough and we all deserve better.”

“New Zealanders need a positive reason to get vaccinated beyond just community protection. An ambitious vaccination target linked to a partial re-opening of our borders could stimulate uptake by giving people a real reason to go and get vaccinated.

“We will continue to carefully digest the findings in the report from Dr Skegg and his colleagues.”