Where is New Zealand’s vaccine rollout plan?

National is calling on the Government to provide more detail on the schedule for vaccinating the entire population so that New Zealanders – particularly businesses – have the clarity they need to plan for the post-COVID future, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“It is great that border workers are being vaccinated but the rest of New Zealand is increasingly asking, ‘who’s next’, and the Government doesn’t seem to have any answers.

“Unlike other countries, New Zealand still has not published a detailed list of how the population will be prioritised for vaccines and when each group will be getting them.

“This is in stark contrast with Australia, which has a website where people can type in their location, age and occupation to find out when they will be getting vaccinated.

“Australia has declared that everyone who wants a vaccine will have been offered one by October. There is no such target date in New Zealand.

“Our Government won’t even tell us when non-border frontline health workers will be vaccinated, even though there is enough Pfizer vaccine in the country for them already.

“It’s clear New Zealand is still not at the front of the global queue for receiving vaccines, despite assurances from the Minister for Covid-19 Response.

“So far, only Pfizer’s vaccine has been approved and arrived in this country. Australia, in addition to the Pfizer vaccine, has approved the AstraZeneca vaccine with 300,000 doses arriving three days ago.

“Unlike other countries New Zealand is also not publishing information about what vaccines will arrive, and when.

“Comments from government officials about ‘contractual obligations’ appear to just be excuses when other countries are able to publish delivery schedules months in advance.

“Having a full vaccine rollout plan is important because it gives businesses the confidence they need to plan, and keeps the Government focused on delivering against its targets.

“Our vaccination programme could drag on well beyond Australia. Given the close links between our two countries, we should be aggressively trying to match them.

“The longer the Government delays vaccinating the entire population, the longer we risk another lockdown that costs the economy $500 million a week.

“New Zealanders deserve to know.”