Opinion: If we can get the vast majority of people vaccinated, can we stop using the highly disruptive Level 4 lockdown as part of our covid strategy and start treating covid like a virus? Are we with whom we can learn to live?
A Member of Parliament presents his views from each side of the house.
Irina Williams, Labor MP Menoriva.
Experts say that with a high level of vaccination coverage, we can maintain our elimination strategy while reducing the need for lockdowns.
Recently, members of the Strategic Cove 19 Public Health Advisory Group were asked if the elimination strategy would work even after the resumption of international travel.
He concluded that this should be the case, explaining that although more quarantine-free travel would increase the risk of COVID 19 in the community, and even some clusters and occasional outbreaks with high levels of vaccination. However, they can be sealed by public health measures such as contact testing, tracing and isolation, as well as physical distance and wearing a mask.
* Cove 19: Crown Plaza Atrium Barrier Extended, Leaked Inquiry Sealed
* Covid 19: A child under the age of 1 became infected with the virus in the Auckland community.
* From September 19, everyone is eligible for the vaccine, with a six-week interval between doses.
Experts caution that while one goal is to minimize the need to raise warning levels, some local changes may be inevitable when borders reopen. “The speed at which the Delta moves, especially if we keep our options open, will be crucial,” he said.
I think the key thing that New Zealanders can do away with is that a successful vaccination program will make our eradication strategy more sustainable. This will help you to finish faster.
Getting vaccinated means you are less likely to be infected with Code 19, and if you are infected you are less likely to get seriously ill. It also means protecting your nerves and the wider community, reducing the likelihood that the virus will spread to the population.
The government has guaranteed that every New Zealander will have access to the Pfizer vaccine this year.
During a select committee meeting last week, a colleague asked a representative of the Strategic Quad 19 Public Health Advisory Group why the government has focused its vaccination program on the Pfizer vaccine.
Dr. Nicky Turner told us that the Pfizer vaccine is one of the best performing vaccines in the world. “This is a very strong reason for us to go with our Pfizer in terms of providing the best, the most protection to our population. New Zealand is proud of us,” he said.
No one wants to see more lockdowns. The good news is that with a high level of vaccination coverage we can reduce the need for them.
To play your part, you can visit the Book My Vaccine website or call the Covid Vaccination Health Line on 0800 28 29 26.
Stuart Smith, Member of Parliament Kekura.
There must be some doubt in people’s minds now that vaccines are the key to our nation’s success in this new world.
Success in the sense that we will be able to reduce the chances of the virus being carried in the first place or hospitalized if we contract it. But it also has the potential to open up businesses and get employees back to work.
Hospitality, tourism, butchers, bakers and greens are obvious businesses that we think will be badly affected by the lockdown, but there are many more and we need to open them as soon as possible.
Another failure on the border has caused the Kiwis to make huge sacrifices in the past two weeks. We do not yet know how the virus re-entered the community. The magnificent Crown Plaza has turned to the MIQ facility, where those returning from Sydney stayed.
Surprisingly, the facility has an exercise area in front of a public walkway where they share the same air. Given the dangers of the Delta, this is amazing. Yet the facility passed all of its infection control audits, as recently as June!
This government has also failed to correct the basics. At least 25 percent of port workers are vaccinated against immunizations, as well as a variety of our essential workers in the police, hospitals, shops and supermarkets who have not yet been vaccinated.
We need a vaccination target to avoid lockdown, and we need that right now. The target of 70 to 75% of the population could potentially mean that we can reduce or avoid lockdowns, and the accompanying economic and social costs.
Auckland in particular has been out of the lockdown for 18 months. Parents are trying to work, while teaching their children at home is not ideal, and the Minister of Education does not know how many children are actually studying all day, to show that we need our children. Should return to the classroom.
Eventually the rupee stops with the government. Vaccination rates have risen since we were in lockdown, but it’s too late when our economy is stagnant, and businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
We started vaccinating too late and we’re speeding up – and we haven’t ordered a booster yet! The United States is set to end them next month, as it has in other months – but New Zealand has yet to come up with an order. This is insulting.
I keep encouraging all New Zealanders who want to be vaccinated to do so, and we can end these rolling lockdowns and move towards reintegration with the rest of the developed world.