Opposition parties are taking credit for COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins’ confirmation that the Government has requested a small number of vaccines be delivered early to New Zealand.
National and ACT have been piling pressure on the Government to explain why New Zealand has not yet received any coronavirus vaccines despite Bloomberg data showing 51 countries have already administered them.
Hipkins told The AM Show on Monday that New Zealand will receive its first shipment of vaccines before the end of March for border workers. The general population will start receiving jabs in the second half of the year.
This has real political dimensions as well as public health and economic ones.
The math doesn’t lie.
The new UK strain is so many times more contagious, that their current level 4 lockdown procedures which would see a 30% reduction of transmission for the older Covid version would in fact see a 30% increase of transmission for the new mutation.
Mathematically for every 1000 Covid patients through our quarantine, 1 is going to get through.
We aren’t publicly doing enough in the Track and Trace front to give us enough warning when someone comes into a hospital sick and the far quicker transfer of the new strain means it will be well away in the Community before we are even aware of it.
Labour’s political success has been built from Jacinda’s handling of the pandemic, but it will evaporate if the virus gets lose inside NZ and the blame is pinned on incompetence.
Waiting until the end of March when the math tells us there is likely to be an outbreak well before then is a huge gamble.
People will demand to know why the vaccine wasn’t available earlier.
Chippy should be moving heaven and earth to get those bloody early vaccines in as soon as possible.
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