PM’s critics should stick to the facts | The Jackal

18 Jun 2021

PM’s critics should stick to the facts

There’s been a lot of grumbling lately amongst the right wing and certain mainstream media pundits who are looking to either score cheap political points or attract readers by attacking the Prime Minister.

Of course some of the criticism is justified. After all no Government is perfect and there are always going to be issues that need the attention of the public and eagle-eyed journalist’s alike to try and remedy.

However much of the recent criticism directed towards Jacinda Ardern is more often than not unjustified. That’s especially been the case with the Covid-19 recovery and vaccine rollout that, despite a large amount of propaganda, are both actually doing quite well.

Today, Stuff reported:

Covid-19 vaccinations: This is not the front of the queue

OPINION: It is becoming harder and harder for the Government to credibly say that the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out is going according to plan.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted on Thursday that the “wide roll-out” in July wouldn’t actually include the entire 16+ population, as the Government had forecast when it first created this plan earlier this year.

Cooke is right; the Covid-19 vaccine rollout isn’t going according to plan…because it’s going better than planned. With around 5 million people in New Zealand and 1.2 million of them under the age of 16, there’s approximately 4 million adults who should be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the year. But don't tell that to the people over at stuff.

Instead, because we still have only around a tenth of the vaccines needed in the country, it will be staggered by age, with those aged 60 or over able to get the vaccine from July 28. That’s just five years younger than the current age cutoff.

The Ministry of Health has a plan to administer just over 8 million doses and with at least a million doses in stock or administered already, that means we have received over 14% of the total doses we require to ensure all adults above the age of 16 are fully vaccinated.

Sure, you might think that a few percentage points don’t really matter. However without bending the statistical truth no complaint that the Government is somehow failing to protect the population from Covid-19 is achievable. The spurious claim that Jacinda Ardern has somehow failed in the fight against Covid-19 is made even more redundant now that New Zealand has had 111 days without any community transmission.

Perhaps Cooke doesn't also realise that the graphic attached to his article, which shows the number of people who have received either their first Pfizer dose (52% effectiveness) or are now fully vaccinated (95% effectiveness) is ahead of schedule.

In fact if the number of vaccinations continues to increase at the same rate (which is unlikely because of supply constraints) we will be 28% ahead of the Ministry of Health’s projections by the time 4 million doses have been administered.

That similarly puts into context National Party MP Christopher Bishop’s latest fear mongering about New Zealand being unable to administer enough doses per day to ensure every adult Kiwi is fully vaccinated before mid November, as per the MoH plan.

It’s also worth pointing out that only a thousand health professionals are currently administering Covid-19 vaccines in New Zealand. Another 7000 vaccinators have been trained and are waiting in the wings to ensure New Zealand achieves an excellent level of immunisation.

This shows that if New Zealand needed to we could administer around twice the amount of vaccines per day as the highest rate stipulated in the Covid-19 vaccination plan.

Of course the schedule to vaccinate every adult New Zealander is dependent on supply. Being that the Ministry of Health already has orders for more than enough vaccines, any delay would hardly be the Prime Minister or the Government’s fault. After all, the distribution of the safest and most effective Covid-19 vaccine in the world is solely in the hands of its maker, Pfizer.