Chris Hipkins & Ashley Bloomfield via Getty
Chris Hipkins & Ashley Bloomfield via Getty

Peter Williams: Why you should be sceptical of Hipkins, Bloomfield

Peter Williams 15/04/2021

OPINION: I hate to go on about this MIQ fiasco and the vaccine rollout but isn’t the organisation of it getting to almost farcical levels?

Firstly, with MIQ we find out that the border worker - the security guard who has tested positive - hadn’t had a previous test since last November and that private security firms were not always using a register for the tests because it didn’t appear as if it was compulsory to do so.

So despite all the promises about border staff being tested regularly, they’re not, and nobody seems to know how many are slipping through the system. And from what we saw on the TV news last night, the performance of the two women from the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) at the select committee yesterday was plain embarrassing.

I can understand why border workers don’t want to be tested. It’s not a very nice experience, especially if you have it done every two weeks. That’s why Auckland Airport is using saliva testing. Why can’t the government border agencies do that too? Then there won’t be the reluctance to have it done and fewer people will slip through the cracks.

And should the prime minister be calling anyone a liar? This on the same day as her tourism minister called an opposition MP a nutter? Oh well, the government of kindness eh?

On the matter of the vaccines, yesterday we found out that despite only certain people being eligible for it, those who are not eligible at this time are essentially gate crashing the vaccination centres, getting in the line and having it done. They are gatecrashing the system.

I’m also very sceptical of the target numbers set by the minister, Chris Hipkins. He reckons by the end of June there will be 1,161,952 New Zealanders who will have had their first shot. So far, there are only 105,391 who have had at least one shot, about 30,000 of them have had their second shot as well. Those were the official numbers released yesterday and were correct up until April 11, 2021.

But that leaves 1,056,561 people to get at least one shot between then and June 30, which is 80 days. That means an average of 13,207 people a day. Do you know what the highest day so far has been? 8000.

Now, it may well be that more people are being lined up to do this work and that the logistics and the facilities are being put in place so that more than 13,000 people a day can be vaccinated. But the organisational efforts so far do not fill me with a great deal of confidence. How about you?

Are you one of the 105,000 or so who has had at least one shot? If you are, can you tell me about the experience of what you went through? I hear that it takes a while, with a bit of form filling and then waiting around. More importantly, how did you feel afterwards?

The vast majority of people don’t seem to have any issues, although the new figures from the Centre for Adverse Reaction Monitoring (CARM) still suggest about one in 100 reports a reaction. On Wednesday, the second CARM report had 68 adverse reactions in week two and that was from about seven thousand tests. All up it’s 215 adverse reaction reports from 22,588 vaccinations, so just under one percent.

From what I could see there were no questions asked about that report yesterday, and Dr Ashley Bloomfield didn’t make any comment on it, so the hospital admission that listeners to this show on March 24 will know about wasn’t put in the public domain. But it happened. I confirmed with the person last night. She spent two nights in the hospital with a reaction to the vaccine. She says she has an acknowledgement from CARM that was why she was hospitalised. The good news is that she recovered, but it appears both the Minister for COVID-19 and the Director-General of Health don’t want you to know that some people will get quite a bad reaction to this vaccine.

I was talking to my daughter in London last night. She’s had the first Pfizer shot and says the NHS system seems very efficient with advising her to go to a certain place at a certain time to get the shot and having it done pretty quickly, although she says a month later there hasn’t been a call back for the second shot.

So if you’ve had the shot here, I’d love to hear how it went for you.

Join Peter Williams every weekday from 9am on Magic Talk.