Doubt over Q’town data

High Covid-19 vaccination rates reported in the Queenstown Lakes district are based on population data that might not include all newcomers.

Southern DHB Covid-19 vaccination rollout lead Hamish Brown said the data was the best available for tracking vaccination progress, but could be affected by population changes since last year.

‘‘While no data set is perfect, we are confident the rates being reported are a reasonably accurate picture of the reality in Queenstown.’’

As of yesterday, 95.7% of the Queenstown Lakes district’s eligible population had received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, giving it the lowest rate of unvaccinated residents in the country.

The Ministry of Health data shows 77.8% of people aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated, placing the district second behind Dunedin.

Mr Brown said the population data used to calculate the vaccination rate was generated when anyone with a Queenstown Lakes address interacted with the health system anywhere in the country last year, such as enrolling at a medical centre, taking a prescription to a pharmacy or presenting at a hospital.

‘‘It doesn't count those who were in New Zealand on holiday or who were residing overseas, or had no interaction with the health system.’’

An increase in the district’s population since last year would lead to a higher reported vaccination rate.

‘‘If there had been a significant influx of population to Queenstown since 2020, the vaccination rates being reported could show a percentage higher than 100%.’’

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the council estimated the district’s resident population had increased from about 40,000 to 47,000 in the past three years. 

Those estimates were an ‘‘educated guess’’ based on various data used or generated by the council, Mr Boult said.

Even allowing for the loss of non-permanent residents since last year, such as temporary workers from overseas and elsewhere in the country, he expected the district’s population had continued to grow.

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