What’s happening with Canterbury’s vaccine roll out?

The Government needs to work out urgently what’s happening with Canterbury’s vaccine roll out, which is looking increasingly shambolic and slow, National’s COVID-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop says.

“Canterbury DHB has only carried 5544 first COVID-19 vaccination doses, well behind much small DHBs like Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Northland and Southern.

“Even neighbouring DHB South Canterbury, with a population of 62,000, has carried out more Group 3 first dose vaccinations than Canterbury, with a population of 578,000.

“Many Cantabrians have been told by their DHB that it expects to be vaccinating Group 3 for another couple of months, and that ‘most vaccinations for people in Group 4 in Canterbury will start from mid-September’.

“The Government however expects all DHBs to begin vaccinating Group 4 by the end of this month. So why is Canterbury so far behind?

“I’ve heard from a number of Cantabrians frustrated with the glacial pace their vaccine roll out is moving at. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for the long delays yet the Government isn’t doing anything about it.

“Instead, COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins threw the DHB under the bus claiming the DHB has received the doses they’ve asked for and it’s not following the plan.

“We can’t have significant regional disparities if we’re trying to roll out a vaccine quickly, comprehensively and nationwide. Especially in Christchurch which is home to an international airport, receives Red Zone flights, has MIQ facilities and a sea port.

“I’ve received many messages from Cantabrians hugely frustrated at the roll out. People in their 70s with underlying health conditions have been contacting their GPs and the DHB asking when they’ll get vaccinated, and no one seems to know.

“The Government should stop shifting blame, show some leadership and work out what’s going on here. Otherwise the rest of New Zealand will be vaccinated and ready to open up, but Canterbury will be lagging behind.”

You can find the Group 3 vaccination doses by DHB here.