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National claims 'leaked' document shows NZ vaccine rollout is 'miles' behind schedule

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 7 Apr 2021, 5:48PM
Chris Bishop. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Chris Bishop. (Photo / NZ Herald)

National claims 'leaked' document shows NZ vaccine rollout is 'miles' behind schedule

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 7 Apr 2021, 5:48PM

Early estimates of New Zealand's Covid-19 vaccine rollout shows 390,000 vaccines were expected to have been administered by now, according to a "leaked document".

That document – a page from what appears to be a Ministry of Health report from January – was used by National to criticise the Government's vaccine rollout today.

The party's Covid-19 response spokesman Chris Bishop revealed the "leaked" information in the House this afternoon.

He used it to attack the Government's vaccination record, saying it shows that New Zealand is 300,000 vaccines behind schedule.

But Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the document, referred to by Bishop, was "likely to be an early working document that was shared with some DHBs".

Earlier today, director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield revealed that to date just over 90,000 Covid jabs have been administered.

This was, according to Hipkins, "slightly behind schedule".

At this stage, however, it is not clear as to when this schedule was set.

Hipkins told MPs in the House that he was "broadly satisfied" with the vaccine rollout so far, which was running at roughly 95 per cent to schedule.

And, in the coming weeks, the rollout would "increase significantly," with DHBs forecast to deliver 55,000 doses over the next week – that's roughly 7500 a day on average.

But even with this surge, New Zealand would still be behind where the "leaked" January document expected the country to be, when it comes to the vaccine rollout.

"We're miles behind where we should be," Bishop told media, "we need to catch up".

Speaking to media, Hipkins said he did not know the document that Bishop was citing.
But it was likely to be a "rough working model" from officials.

"Our modelling has changed over time as we have understood more around how many vaccines in a day a vaccinator can do," he said.

He also said the Government's vaccine strategy had firmed up, after it was able to confirm that it had secured an additional 8.5 million Pfizer vaccines.

"Things have only really firmed up over the last month or so."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also challenged in the House this afternoon; Act leader David Seymour had questions about the rollout plan as well.

But Ardern pointed out that New Zealand is in a very different position to other countries which are currently making strong inroads with their vaccination campaigns.

"People are literally not dying while they wait, so that means delivery has been different," she told the House.

The speed of the Government's vaccine rollout is not the only area that has come under fire recently – there has been mounting pressure over vaccine data on the Ministry of Health's website.

The Herald this morning reported that no vaccination progress numbers were on the Ministry of Health's website six weeks after the rollout had begun.

But this afternoon, Bloomfield revealed that the ministry now has a much more up-to-date dashboard on its website.

The dashboard will include information "such as the number of people receiving their first vaccination, the number receiving their second dose and a graph showing vaccinations administered each week compared to the total number that had been planned," the ministry said in a statement.

"Other information on the dashboard will include the number of vaccinations administered on a given day, the number of first and second doses given by individual district health boards, and vaccinations given by ethnicity, age and sex."

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