Why the Government is not setting Covid vaccine targets

Source: 1News

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall told Q+A the Government is seeing that there is an emerging interest in booster shots .

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall discussing Covid-19 vaccinations on Q+A.

She explained booster shots may not be what's required for new variants, but instead, a whole new vaccine.

"We look really closely at this evidence and we’re always in close communication with our vaccine manufacturers about what our options are."

Host Jack Tame asked Verrall if the Government should order booster shots just in case. She wasn’t able to comment.

National party’s Covid-19 spokesperson Chris Bishop told Q+A the obvious thing to do is order booster shots for next year.

"I just think it’s staggering that Doctor Verrall couldn’t answer the question as to why the government hasn’t ordered them."

He said Australia has ordered millions of booster shots and Pfizer has made it clear its first in first served.

"We haven’t ordered a single one and I think that’s pretty bad."

Bishop said the National party "Would be much more upfront with New Zealanders about what target we need to reach as a country to re-open the borders."

Chris Bishop discussing Covid-19 vaccinations on Q+A.

But Verrall said there's no magic number at which the Government can guarantee New Zealand that they’re safe from Covid-19 transmission.

She said while New Zealand is in the vaccine rollout , the Government has not set a target because they want everybody to take the opportunity to be vaccinated. 

"If we set a threshold now, we may well have to change it when we’re confronted with new facts in six months' time."

Bisop said he accepts Verrall's point that there’s no 'magic number', but said there probably is a range.

He said a vaccine target would allow the team of five million to collectively towards a goal.

"We’re actually pretty good as a country at getting behind a particular national goal."