'This isn't rocket science:' National demands Govt makes vaccination target

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE say they have so far found no serious safety concerns...
National is calling on the Government to set a Covid-19 vaccination target. Photo: Reuters
National is calling on the Government to set a vaccination target of at least 70% of New Zealand's adult population by the end of the year.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has so far been reluctant to set a concrete target, saying last week: "We've never set a fixed target".

"We want to vaccinate as many people as possible."

But this morning, National said this was not good enough and a specific target was needed.

"New Zealand is one of only a few countries in the OECD that doesn't have a target for how many adults should be vaccinated. The others are Colombia and Mexico."

The UK, for example, has a target of having all 32 million adults in the country vaccinated by April 15 – so far, just under 30 million people have received the jab.

And Australia's Government has set an October deadline to vaccinate its population.

"The best [our] Government can say is that it wants all New Zealanders to be offered a vaccine by the end of the year," Bishop said.

"We should be setting an ambitious target and going for it. A target will make sure the health system is focused, and means vaccination progress can be meaningfully tracked."

He pointed out that the Government has targets when it comes to measles and flu vaccines.

Not having one for Covid-19, he said, suggests the Government "doesn't want to be held to account on this".

Speaking to reporters last week, Hipkins said the Government's target was to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

"We know towards the middle of the year, as we ramp up and make it publicly available, there will be a lot of demand."

At that time, Hipkins said, there would be more than 20,000 vaccines administered a day.

But, as New Zealand has to wait for the bulk of the Pfizer vaccines to arrive, the vaccination campaign has started out small – as had been signalled by the Government.

As of last Wednesday, there have been at least 41,500 vaccines administered.

That number will no doubt be higher today but, unlike other countries that provided daily vaccination numbers, New Zealand's information comes out just once a week.

This is something Bishop has also taken issue with.

He said New Zealanders should be getting near-daily announcements, published by the Ministry of Health, so everyone can see how our vaccine rollout is going.

"This isn't rocket science – it already happens with testing and tracing."

New Zealand is currently on to group two of the vaccination rollout.

That is, 480,000 frontline workers and people living in high-risk settings.

From May, New Zealand's more high-risk people and those over 65 with underlying health conditions will get the jab and the general rollout will begin in July.


National, stop spouting things you know full well you could not do if you were in govt. We kept asking for time frames during the earthquake recovery when you were in govt but couldn't get them. Media please stop reporting this scaremongering. Its actually destructive and scares the elderly.

Interesting comments regarding scaring the elderly when this is a Government which has feed the fear worries throughout the whole COVID process to keep control of the public.

What a load of tosh!
The govt have been following the science. They've explained progress in great detail, they've used multi media to do this, the news media has played their part very responsibly, they've alleviated people's tendency to be fearful every step of the way.
In my experience the only fear people have is that if the govt changes its strategy in the face of pressure from the likes of ACT or national then we'll end up like Europe or the USA. Seymour and crusher are the ones deliberately using fear as a political weapon in this pandemic.

"Speaking to reporters last week, Hipkins said the Government's target was to get as many people vaccinated as possible" I hope he realizes not everybody wants this "vaccine", the right to refuse medical treatment is written into NZ bill of rights.

Of course he realises it. What else would a statement saying they'll vaccinate as many people as possible mean. Clearly he knows some people will refuse otherwise he would have said they'll have everyone vaccinated.

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