Vaccines might be ‘managed’

File photo: RNZ
File photo: RNZ
Just as demand for the Covid-19 vaccine hits record levels, supplies may have to be managed over the next month to ensure no-one misses out, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Since the community outbreak of the more transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 started a fortnight ago, hundreds of thousands of vaccinations have been given.

In the southern region initiatives such as drive-through vaccination clinics have been hugely popular, and today a two-day effort to vaccinate about 6000 students starts at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Ms Ardern yesterday warned unprecedented demand was putting pressure on supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

"We are working on strategies so that we are able to maintain the level of vaccination that we have currently," she said.

"I would say that it’s not a matter of running out, it’s a matter of whether or not we are in a position where we need to have a little less demand than we have now.

"There are ways we can manage that, but we are not at that point yet."

The Ministry of Health website shows that at the end of last week there were more than 400,000 doses of vaccine available, but over the weekend more than 165,000 injections were dispensed.

"It is a very dynamic situation given that all of our modelling has to anticipate where demand will continue to go, and we have seen demand anywhere between 70,000-90,000 doses a day," she said.

"What we are doing now is working through if we maintain that level of demand, the impact on both our supply and our stock."

National Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop said Ms Ardern’s comments were unbelievable.

"Now that New Zealand’s vaccine roll-out is starting to ramp up, there is a real risk we will run out of vaccines and the Prime Minister says demand needs to lessen," he said.

"This is incompetence on a grand scale. Right at the moment demand is surging, the Government can’t meet that demand."

Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 83 new community cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, following 82 cases being announced on Saturday.

The highest daily case number recorded in the earlier Covid-19 outbreak was 89, on two occasions, but those cases were being diagnosed throughout New Zealand.

All Saturday’s cases were diagnosed in Auckland, while all but one of yesterday’s cases was Auckland-based. The exception was a Wellington case, of someone already in isolation with other patients.

Wastewater tests elsewhere in New Zealand still recorded negative results, including in Christchurch, where results consistent with people in quarantine shedding the virus were detected.

Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said those results were encouraging, but testing in Christchurch would be stepped up to include nine new sites from today to confirm there were no community cases there.

"If you look at the modelling from early on about where we would be at now if we hadn’t done Alert Level 4, the numbers would be extraordinary," he said.

"We would be at New South Wales-like numbers by now," Dr Bloomfield said.

New South Wales yesterday reported 1218 new cases of Covid-19.

Latest test results meant no alteration to plans for all of New Zealand, apart from Northland and Auckland, to drop to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm tomorrow.

Ms Ardern urged people everywhere to continue scanning and to get a test if they had Covid-like symptoms.

"Everyone needs to keep their alert up, I wouldn’t want to leave the impression that everything that is coming through at the moment are known contacts and known household cases.

"We do still have cases that are requiring investigation ... we do still have mystery cases coming through and that says to everyone that you have got to be vigilant."

Level 4 was not business as usual and health officials were investigating 25 cases where people might have caught Covid-19 elsewhere other than their home, she said.

Those people were deemed essential workers and did not deal with customers, but there could be a problem with protocols in the workplace, before or after shifts, or at break times, Ms Ardern said.

"We have asked for further analysis of these workplaces so we can assess whether our Level 4 rules on who is operating are being adhered to, and whether our public health protocols for those businesses that are operating are fit for purpose.

"If we need to tighten up our restrictions further, we will."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

Translated, they are running out, poorly managed again

"I would say that it’s not a matter of running out, it’s a matter of whether or not we are in a position where we need to have a little less demand than we have now.

Indeed, she would say that.

So, it's not a matter of running out ... but a matter of restricting access to a potentially life-saving vaccine in the middle of a pandemic.

Do people really fall for this rubbish?

Another example of mismanagement by this government and then blaming the people for wanting the vaccine. Obviously their "modelling" on how many people would want a vaccine in an outbreak was way off. To me it's a simple equation: 5 million x 2 = 10 million. Didn't even need a calculator.

I would have thought that the government were already managing the vaccine distribution, so what further management could they do ?

It seems that some easy maths of 400k - 165k = 235k doses remaining, at 70k - 90 k doses per day of you have approximately 3 days worth left.

Omg, the fomo is great in this one.

Not ordered early enough, not enough ordered, not willing to use more efficient testing. What else can they stuff up?

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