This is the page that I read at least once a week. With a clean brevity it gives me almost all of the strategic summary information about the progress of the vaccinations in NZ. Even the title is clean and clear.
It is the perfect antidote for anyone who has no idea about how real projects get completed and who keeps on wanting to change course mid-stream without any understanding about consequences.
This appears to be many of our chicken little self-assessed opinion makers and ineffectual political political figures. As usual, Mike Hosking comes to mind when looking at the looking at that phrase. But he isn’t unique.
Just to give context about where I’m coming from… In the distant past I was an army medic. After doing a science degrees and working in management, I did a MBA in operations management, ie how to make sure that systems and processes work efficiently. Over decades I have mostly worked with developing long projects, some small and some large, and then delivering them. I’m a computer programmer by profession.
Unlike some journalists, professional opinion makers, and many politicians, I focus on the process and progress towards project delivery. Panic and imitating changing direction without considering the long-term effects on project delivery like some fools have been urging over the last year simply won’t work in a project like our vaccination program. What works is making a plan and putting it up so anyone can see what is happening. That is my favourite New Zealand page for most of this year, I’m only surprised that somebodies made it and kept it updated.
About the only criticism that I can make about this particular page is that the currently what I consider to be the most important and crucial pieces of information about the logistics situation aren’t further towards the top. But that is a personal quibble. I understand that most people don’t even think about that – like some politicians .
As was apparent back in early July the real constraint is the amount of vaccine that we have to inject. This is reflected in the central stock of the vaccine. With the Pfizer vaccine we are using, we need to store it at very low temperatures centrally for any length of time requiring specialised equipment.
This change means that the refrigerated (2°C to 8°C) shelf life of an unopened vial of Comirnaty vaccine is extended from 5 days to 31 days.
Once at 2°C to 8°C, the vial cannot be returned to the freezer and must be disposed of after 31 days or on the vial’s expiration date (whichever happens first).
This change will take effect immediately for any vaccine that DHBs or vaccination clinics have in stock, unless the vial’s expiry date has passed. Vaccine dispatched from Wednesday 2 June will include updated labelling to reflect the new storage conditions.
The vaccine still needs to be kept at ultra-low temperatures (-90°C to -60°C) in the longer term, for up to six months.Medsafe: Comirnaty (Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine) storage conditions updated
This is reflected in the shipments incoming to NZ and the central stock on hand. This was phased in to ensure that we don’t have vaccines being wasted due to a lack of trained staff or a lack of facilities.
Of course the speed at which the stock can be consumed is directly related to the number of people trained to inject Comirnaty. The other logistic graph is the needlers… What is obvious in this graph is the slow build up of trained staff both to do the initial front-line injections, and then to train the next cohort. This means that there can be shifts and time off – and you don’t have tired people jabbing needles into your arm.
The target here is the current period when the number of people being vaccinated is going to increase rapidly. We have trained staff to go into the number of new sites for a mass vaccination program.
I like that clear description of what a vaccinator is. It makes it apparent that there is capacity to inject as we get stock in the country. There has been a lot of preparation to make sure that when the vaccine has arrived and the places found to inject, that there will people trained to do the work.
The results are obvious in the summary graph on the page. We’re stocked up with people and vaccines, and teh plan is to have a exponential growth in vaccinations.
Here again you can see how close we were to running out of vaccine stock in early July. That the phased ramp up of vaccinations is proceeding roughly to that what was planned. Ramping up a vaccination plan like this isn’t as easy as some people seem to believe. You don’t have to look too far into history to find examples of just how totally screwed some of the logistics can get. If you compare this graph with the daily count, you can see just how close it was to going off plan due to a shortage of stock. The number of vaccinations stopped increasing as the initial target groups were largely completed and the planned start for the mass vaccinations was waiting on incoming stock.
That ramp up means after stock arrived, that there was a smooth escalation of the capacity.
I could go into the details about targeting, however I’d have to say that also shows pretty good organisation to my eye. I’m sure that organisational simpletons would want all of a one group to be done before the next, but people don’t work that way unless you have a lash, coercion, and guards.
But the effectiveness of using a scarce and hard to obtain resource at the end of the process is measured by a single figure. As at the 25th of July, the estimate of usage is 99.5% with a 0.5% wastage. Bearing in mind that the vaccine we are using requires extraordinary levels of cooling and tight deadlines for use after warming, then this is a very low level of wastage.
I do like this page. Clean summary information with a moderate amount of drill down data, all that I need to see that the vaccination program is planned pretty well and progressing according to the plan.
The sit also provides a spreadsheet of more summary information. It also provides the link to known Adverse events following immunisation (AEFI).
For those who care, you can see the evolution of this page in the Internet Archive.
The detail lacking initial version back in early April rapidly grew into a medium-term plan and a projected ideal model by the end of April. The plan diverged from the model over time as reality bit in. Probably mostly from experience of delivery, with what the DHBs about what they could actually deliver on the ground for sites, and what the delivery schedules were from Pfizer. But the plan isn’t too far off the model back in April. Not a bad effort for such a large program.
All the way through last year and this year we have had idiotic panicked Chicken Littles, who clearly were just incapable of reading a few simple graphs. They kept wanting others (presumably vastly more competent than they were) to do magic. Careful planning and execution to be thrown out and replaced with the wishes of idiots wanting to take the tiller – and running us into the rocks.
Thankfully they were ignored.