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The Covid vaccine rollout

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, October 30th, 2021 - 185 comments
Categories: chris bishop, covid-19, jacinda ardern, politicans, trade - Tags:

I am aware that the Herald gives many of us huge angst.  The latest Steven Joyce or Richard Prebble or various Newstalk talkback hosts takes are inevitably complete wastes of broadband space.  And there is no left wing opinions offered apart from the occasional gem from Shane Tepou.

But its in depth analysis can be startling.

Today’s piece on the Covid rollout by Matt Nippert is extraordinarily good and manages to capture the essence of what has been an extraordinarily complex project well.  And it exposes that National’s continuous attacks are lies should be treated with the same amount of respect as Tobacco Lobbyist claims that smoking does not cause cancer.

It is a shame it is behind the paywall.  But I will quote from some of the cabinet papers that the article references.

What is clear in May last year as Aotearoa bet off the first Covid incursion was that vaccines were at that stage a distant hope.  A typical vaccine takes five to ten years to research, develop and approve.  With the immediacy and threat posed by the virus there were multiple accelerated attempts to  develop a vaccine but there was no way to predict when they would appear or even if they would work.

On May 7 2020 Cabinet was told:

Our past experiences … suggest that there will be strong incentives on manufacturing countries to restrict the export of vaccines until they have ensured sufficient supply for their own need.”

And with the rest of the world, apart from China, Taiwan as well as New Zealand, giving up on elimination it was clear that the only solution the World could entertain was the development of an effective vaccine.

In July 2020 Cabinet was told:

Even when a successful vaccine is developed (provided it can be), the global demand for doses of that vaccine will be fierce. There is no guarantee that New Zealand will be among the first to receive the doses we seek, especially if there is some prioritisation based on assessment of need …

Other countries are already entering into [Advanced Purchase Agreements] with pharmaceutical companies and we will quickly fall to the bottom of the queue if we do not pursue our own arrangements.”

This comment was very prescient with the European Union putting in place roadblocks to the export of the vaccine at the end of 2020 until their supply requirements were met.

The Goverment responded by putting in place multiple orders with different suppliers, betting that at least one would be effective.  It should be remembered that Pfeizer BioNTech did not successfully conclude their phase three trial until November 18, 2020 although Nippert’s article suggests that an initial indication was given the month before.

Chris Bishop has continuously criticised the pace of the negotiations and has said that the Government was too slow.  The officials begged to differ:

The tempo of negotiations is not being limited by our resourcing and process, but rather the fact that we are dependent on the response times of pharma companies that are themselves managing multiple parallel negotiations in different jurisdictions”.

And as pointed out by Nippert no country had their full orders met early.  Pfeizer was actively managing its distribution and trying to deal equitably with all nations although I do have the strong impression that some western nations, battling with huge outbreaks, managed to elbow their way up the list and get supplies earlier.

The vaccine was provisionally approved by New Zealand authorities on February 3, 2021 and vaccinations started soon after that.

The project is incredibly complex.  We have triennial elections where we celebrate if we get over 80% turnout rate, requiring people to pop into one of thousands of organised premises and tick a piece of paper.  To get to the same figure by getting people to go to predominately subregional facilities, get jabbed with a sharp needle by a suitably qualified person and be required to hang around to make sure that no adverse effects were going to happen and then to do it again later I always thought was going to be an incredibly difficult job.

As advised to Cabinet:

The programme will be the biggest immunisation programme undertaken in New Zealand, as it seeks to immunise as many people as possible. It is a highly complex and challenging initiative that is at a much larger scale compared with other immunisation programmes.”

But the program has rolled out remarkably well with vaccination figures ahead of what was anticipated, especially recently.

The Government’s decision to go all Pfeizer was inspired, with Pfeizer clearly being the vaccine of preference.

There were numerous comments from the opposition and talk back hosts on how the vaccination roll out was a shambles and noting our relative low level of vaccinations.  Two things need to be remembered, thanks to elimination we did not have thousands of people dying from the virus, and particularly with Delta it is not the early stages of the roll out that is important but the end of the roll out.

Currently New Zealand is mid table in the OECD, and ahead of nations such as Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the United States.

And daily vaccination rate continues to be among the highest in the world with the Vaccathon result potentially the most successful mass vaccination event in the world to date.

I hope I am not jinxing things but there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that Delta may be on the verge of being under control.  We have lost two Kiwis so far, which is terrible but in numeric terms relatively good.  Farmgeek’s rolling data analysis suggests, that at least for now, new infections and the numbers in hospital have plateaued even though there were fears that daily numbers could have doubled to about 200 in the next few days.

Of course we are not out of this yet.  The spread of Covid into other parts of Aotearoa is of concern and it may be that the whole country will be stuck into orange state for at least the near future.

But for now and despite the overwhelming negativity of the opposition and media people who should know better it may be time to be cautiously optimistic that the vaccination program will be a success.  And that Aotearoa may continue to be among the best performing nations in the world in dealing with Covid.

185 comments on “The Covid vaccine rollout ”

  1. Visubversa 1

    The Herald has a requirement to show some "balance". If the balance does not fit their narrative they either make it so trivial it can be ignored – or they put it behind the paywall so that very few people actually see it.

    • AB 1.1

      Nippert and Simon Wilson are their strategic fig leaf – a small concession to 'balance' that is just big enough to hide the ugly truth.

      • Patricia Bremner 1.1.1

        yes Not sure who Brian Fallow writes for now, perhaps a freelance writer, but I see he has an article supporting Nanaia Mahuta's 4 waters stand against parochial councils. That is also behind a paywall.

  2. mike 2

    This outbreak has shown how effective leadership is in human existence. The social rebelliousness we are experiencing and that is hampering our need to keep safe is lead by politicians and commentators sneering from their partisan standpoint. Once they start poo pooing everything they open the door for mobs to run through.

    Democracy is a delicate flower. Basically it relies on trust in one another, with the object being as much personal freedom as possible. But freedom is married to responsibility. To trustworthiness. When, as is now happening, people demand personal freedom without any responsibility, the whole evolution of the democracy we have struggled for is jeopardised.

    That is why it is so reprehensible that leaders, both politicians and those lucky enough to have their views broadcast in media, have conveniently forgotten the 'responsibility' part of their freedom of speech. This allows those with less understanding of the delicate political structures we've created to feel free to smash what they think they don't like.

    When politicians and commentators see the mayhem, they deny all responsibility. 'That's not what I meant' is their catch cry. But they have 'unleashed the dogs of war' by their petty point scoring in a desperate attempt to be relevant. They undermine the peace of their own democracy to score political points.

    • Patricia Bremner 2.1

      yessmiley Such a good summary.

    • chris T 2.2

      Not actually sure what your point is tbf

      • KJT 2.2.1

        The "Children" in National, ACT and the right wing partisan media, white anting the covid response demanding an impossible level of performance and certainty, while at the same time opposing the measures that are necessary. Encouraging the real nitwits, like the pentecostals, anti vaccers and anti mask and lockdown proponents.

        They should know better, but rubbishing everything the Government does, out of their resentment at being denied their "birthright" power! is more important to them.

    • mickysavage 2.3

      Well said.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Yes, that seems an accurate appraisal. I remain a supporter of the overall strategy Labour has used, particularly this:

    The Goverment responded by putting in place multiple orders with different suppliers, betting that at least one would be effective.

    In permaculture this strategy is known as redundancy. Technically, once a strand delivers the other strands can be deemed redundant. However in practice it's best not to discontinue them. For instance, plants grow when it rains, but if you operate a hose you can water them when it doesn't, and if you capture & store rainwater in a tank you don't need to pay for water to grow veges.

    In a city one can use the strategy for food-buying: different supermarkets have different good deals at times, so I shift around between several. Market theorists support govt regulation on the same basis: regulating to eliminate monopolies & cartels keeps prices down & provides more choices for us.

    Back to Labour's strategy though, and I still see the target of 90% nationwide as unrealistic. Some poll the other day reported 20% of the populace don't believe in Covid – although I heard that on the radio in passing without source details and it may not have been this country. Population immunity is an interesting concept but I haven't had reason to take it seriously yet. Dunno if Labour's reliance on it is wise.

    • georgecom 3.1

      90% of eligible population, we will reach that figure for the first jab in the next 10 odd days. Getting to 90% double jabbed should not be that much harder although some mopping up of the 90% to get the second shot will be needed. Since the vaxathon, taking out the long weekend, daily jabs have been consistently 30,000 second jab and 10,000 first jab.

      The 'eligible population' figure will change of course if 5-11 year olds are brought into the equation. Even reaching 50% of that cohort will be a good thing, will raise our overall % by around 4 percent.

      As for DHB by DHB 90%, I agree that could be difficult. So reality time for those areas, they get quarantined from the rest of us until such time as they get there. If Tairawhiti, West Coast, Lakes or Northland cannot make 90% when others have, wall them off and the rest of us can get on with life. The Waikato is under a soft level 3 border. Not ideal but if it is in place here for level 3, logical the under performing DHBs can be under a similar to get to 90%.

      A big % of the population is currently living under restriction whilst the other regions enjoy relative freedom. So the areas that reach 90% can be rewarded with the traffic lights, Auckland and the Waikato most notably, as deserve it. If Hone and mates in those areas wish to set up road blocks to limit incursions in and out of their areas that's for them to work out with the police. Provided such things are reasonable, no great problem from me.

  4. Andre 4

    The vaccine rollout was done well, up until about six weeks ago.

    That was the point at which it became clear that hesitants were going to be a big obstacle to achieving vaccination coverage high enough to enable resumption of having a life without overwhelming our medical system with unvaccinated covid patients.

    Since then the government has been timid and feeble about addressing the issue of hesitants. Mandates have been dribbled out excruciatingly slowly, with obviously needed vaccine mandates still not in place. Such as the police. Or those crossing Auckland's border.

    It is craven cowardice on this government's part to apparently expect the private sector to impose and enforce vaccine mandates that the government won't even give any kind of backing to. That's a dereliction of duty on this government's part.

    Rollout of the vaccine passport has been shamefully slow. That one would be very likely needed was obvious as soon as it was clear that actual effective vaccines were an actual thing – that was very nearly a year ago. But still, no vaccine passports.

    Vaccination status should have become a consideration a long long time ago for things such as compassionate releases from MIQ, or exemptions to cross Auckland's borders. Things in that area are moving at glacial pace, if at all.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      In the past six weeks the country has been consistently in the top four OECD nations for daily per capita doses. I don't think we could do much better. The gradual wind up of pressure appears to be working.

      • Andre 4.1.1

        Yeah, I s'pose if one is committed tribal Labour, then it might look that way.

        • mickysavage

          I am critically tribal labour! The performance comment is not a perception. It is based on data and shown in the ourworldindata pictures above.

          • Andre
            • sigh *

            Almost all other OECD countries had the bulk of their vaccine rollout many months ago and have accepted they have reached most of what they are going to reach. So naturally their vaccination rates, and particularly their first dose rates are very low.

            We are still very much in the phase of being well short of an aggressive target set, but our rate of first doses in particular has fallen waaay off to a small fraction of its peak. Considering what phase we are in our rollout, and in relation to the target we have set, we should be vaccinating a lot more than we are, and in particular, a lot more first doses than we are. Comparison to the rest of the OECD is kinda pointless right now, we're in a very different phase of our rollout.

            • mickysavage

              We are in the middle of the OECD in terms of jabs per person and at or near the top of the OECD in terms of daily jabs per person. Getting to 90% is a hell of an achievement that most nations will not make.

        • Ad

          OMG Andre.

          We are ready at the right time for the Christchurch infections to be pretty small.

          This is why Auckland was required to do what it did: we bought the country time.

          • Andre

            And if the government had shown a bit of spine towards hesitants and instituted some vaccination requirements that were obvious quite a while ago around the privilege of crossing the Auckland border, then the Christchurch outbreak might not have even happened.

            • georgecom

              if that meant stopping people from CHCH going to Auckland and taking it back to ChCh Andre. The solution to what you state is to provide some more freedom for areas to migrate to the traffic lights once dhb regions reach 90%. The Waikato will be a prime example, we will be at 90% after Auckland and greater Wellington, perhaps a couple of the southern DHBs as well. If we get out of level 3 then there might be preparedness to wait for the slackers. If still level 3, look for the Waikato to be released early once we achieve what we should.

            • Ad

              5,000 people against the government effort, on the same day as the infection breakout has gone to 160 per day, shows that the "hesitants" are growing into a force.

              We've not even felt the effect of the mandates yet compared to what's coming, and already we have 5,000 people on the streets. That's a signal that there are thousands more who will march in the days ahead.

              The government has got the balance right.

              And the Titirangi fish and chips are good. Try them Andre. You sound like you need to get out a bit.

  5. mac1 5

    "We have triennial elections where we celebrate if we get over 80% turnout rate, requiring people to pop into one of thousands of organised premises and tick a piece of paper." So why do people vote?

    I bet similar reasons apply for non-voters and voters as to vaxxers and non-vaxxers.

    Voters/vaxxers do so for self-interest; for civic duty; for the sake of family and loved ones; for fear of the alternative; for the satisfaction of being in the majority; following effective leaders; acceptance of authoritative advice.

    Non-voters/anti-vaxxers distrust the process, politicians, authority, believe they don't need to, can't see why they should, don't fear or fear the wrong things, religious beliefs, believe in slogans like "don't vote; it only encourages them," or can't be bothered.

    Self-interest might be the single best motivation. "I will get sick or die.""What will my family, partner think?" "I want to travel, go to the pub etc". "I want this job." "I hate living under restrictions". "I need to be vaccinated to have people do things for me." "I don't want to be seen as a pariah".

    • GreenBus 5.1

      Add ignorance and arrogance to that list. Literally not knowing the reality, with social media misinformation feeding the narrative.

  6. Reality 6

    Despite New Zealand's small population, implementing the vaccine rollout throughout cities, towns, rural and isolated areas is an extraordinarily complex task. Most people would not have a clue about the logistics of it. I wish those who stand on the sideline and criticise constantly could stop and think for a bit and show some patience and gratitude towards people who are doing their best.

    • chris T 6.1

      Too complex for the govt apparently

      After the slow start they seem to have now lumped individual DHBs with it

      • joe90 6.1.1

        Who was doing it before they lumped individual DHBs with it?

        • alwyn


          After all we didn't have a proper supply of vaccine doses until nearly 6 months after the rest of the developed world so nobody could do any vaccinations anyway.

          • Tricledrown

            Alwynger the rest of the world what a load of tosh.

            We had to wait as did Australia we don't manufacture covid vaccines like most of the countries ahead of us.The UK the EU and the US hoarded doses and stopped exports until they had enough vaccines.

            Then John Key claimed we could have jumped the que by paying more ,Pfizer came out promptly and said Key was lying.

            So Alwynger you are in the same boat.wonder why National is hovering on 20% in the polls.

      • Craig H 6.1.2

        DHBs were always going to be part of the process for the bulk rollout because they have local facilities, relationships and staff.

      • Gristle 6.1.3

        You've got a really strange definition of the government if you think that the DHB's are not part of the government.

        And it was always going to implemented by the Dhb's. Who was going to do the rollout? NZ Post?

    • georgecom 6.2

      many people have little clue that is correct. They make simple snide comments about it being all the Labour Govts fault, blame the govt, make dumb comments and have a tantrum. It's true the govt hasn't done things perfectly, over all they have done a decent job of handling covid. Better than a David Seymour led coalition government would have done. When you ask the armchair experts (and even some of the opposition parliamentary armchair experts) what their alternate solution would have been – silence. No answer. Really quiet.

      • chris T 6.2.1

        Here was me thinking they were just slow to order and roll it out.

        • In Vino

          Chris T – isn't that the same old rubbishy Nat party line that got dissed in Matt Nippert's article?

          • chris T

            No idea. Just something I noticed

            • In Vino

              If you had actually read the big article at the top which is the basis of this discussion, you would have had a bloody good idea.

              Another cynical response. Exactly what was something you 'just noticed'?

              Bloody right-wing troll, wasting our time.

        • georgecom

          they might have been a week or 3 slower than ideal in placing orders or confirming certain things Chris, that might be true. A few times recently I have thought 'next week' and then ended up in level 3 lockdown and regretted it. Hindsight and finger pointing are great things. Overall the govt did a reasonable job getting vaccines. I have posted here a couple of times at least about the scramble for vaccines and the scramble to secure doses in the roll out. When you are a small country at the bottom of the world you are in a somewhat takers market. Anyone who thinks we could have done what the US or UK did and demand vaccines is simple.

          • chris T

            I totally agree. What annoys me sometimes is this govt, doesn't just front and admit it.

            • georgecom

              nowt really to front and admit on the vaccines Chris. They did a reasonable job of getting things up and going and securing a population dose of vaccines. some will complain and strain out gnats whilst swallowing camels.

              The Nats are particularly good at trying to strain out gnats but feasting on camels.

              The die was cast when we decided to go for a population level of the Pfizer vaccine. That was a good decision in hindsight. heaven knows where we would be if we had gone with nevervax or AZ or J&J. One would never have arrived, the other likely stirred up a big amount of shit and contention. The gnats, um, the Nats would have been moaning like buggery. pretty easy to moan in an armchair ay

              • chris T

                Yeah the point is it has nothing to fo with the nats, Why the fiaxation with them is beyond me. They weren't in charge.

                Labour were just slow.

                • In Vino

                  No, Chris T.

                  The point is that if you actually read the article at the top and employ your powers of reading comprehension, you stop wasting everybody's time by mindlessly repeating the rubbish that you are repeating. OK?

                • Tricledrown

                  So was Australia slow to Christ.

                  Or did it make a huge mistake and go for a vaccine that it could manufacture as it has the highly complex facilities to manufacture the Oxford developed vaccine.

                  Unfortunately the Oxford vaccine had a higher rate of complications with several people dying from the complications so they had to switch to ordering Pfizer vaccines from surpluses in other countries and ditch manufacturing the Oxford vaccine.

                  ChrisT you are still trying to flog the dead horse conspiracy theories. Implying National would have done better.

                  Time to stop looking back and crying in your bearsies .Nationals leadership and desperation to land blows on the govt has failed and backfired.next leader please.

                  • chris T

                    You seem to think I think the Nats would have done better. I don't necsassarily think the would have. This doesn't make Labours efforts less slightly shit at the start.

                    • chris T

                      You can think both at the same time.

                      Not everyone is that parochial to a particular party

                • chris T

                  I mean I fully back and conrgrats to the current govt for the initial lockdown. Probably tightest in the world.

                  We had the luxury of being at the arse end of no where but fair play.

                  But to pretend they didn't cock up the vaccine speed wise is silly

                  • Tricledrown

                    ChrisT still flogging the dead horse we are ahead of Australia in every measure on the vaccine roll out.

                    Our infection rate,death rate,economic recovery etc.

                    Give it up just like National who can't help but be negative. No positive messages coming from National or its uneducated minions.

                    The minions seem to be mimicking Brian Tamaki.

                • georgecom

                  if you mean a week here or a week there Chris, you might have a point to argue. I am talking about way more than a week here or there though. I am not down into the minutiae, I am looking at big picture stuff. A week here or there is pretty inconsequential over all.

                  I use the Gnats, um, Nats as an example of lots of hot air but no real alternative.

                  If people talk about why we didn't prioritise the likes of Police, essential workers, South Auckland before we got into the oldies, or contemporaneously with the oldies, might be a point. It might have made more sense to try and get the cops and South Auckland moving earlier. That would have merely redistributed the amount of vaccines though. Might have for example meant oldies waited a little longer or the 50-60 waited a while longer to become eligible.

                  There were no extra vaccines able to be sourced as if by magic unless we joined the global scramle and accepted whatever we could get. The level of comment by armchair critics, National Party et al seems to assume there were.

                • Louis

                  No Chris T, Labour were NOT slow.

                  "New Zealand wasn’t slow in ordering Covid-19 vaccines, says Pfizer boss"


    • left for dead 6.3

      @Reality and georgecom,,,,Here here,,yes

  7. observer 7

    Micky S is quite right about Matt Nippert's work on this.

    Just dismissing it as "Herald" is stupid. Every day I splutter my coffee at rubbish from NZME (too many examples to list). But in-depth reporting like Nippert's is well worth reading, as the OP summary shows.

    The essential issue for NZ has been there for 18+ months, and it hasn't changed: either A) let huge numbers of people die, while waiting for a vaccine, or B) keep people alive, while waiting for a vaccine. Our government chose option B, and they were right.

    Sweden update: 15,000 dead. "Let's copy Sweden" update: nobody.

  8. Patricia Bremner 8

    Andre when we do "Open up" and people die as they will… what will you moan about then?

    Repeating stuff does not make it true. You are fed up. We get that!! That is understandable, but the constant bashing of people who turn out to do this task day after day is unhelpful, and repeating right wing views… nuff said.

    Beginning Labour bashing now. So what tribe are you? Glass half empty?

    On one hand we have the Bill of Rights including “Freedom of movement” Borders pose great difficulties, especially new artificial ones. Your comments stopped being reasonable 6 weeks ago and became angry and bitter, and even deny obvious truths when they no longer suit the narrative. Probably get a serve for this.

    • Jilly Bee 8.1

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Patricia. The Standard has always been my 'go to' blog, especially as I gave up on The Daily Blog a few months ago as it was all becoming a bit unhinged. I'm starting to find this blog a bit of struggle as well as of late. I too am pretty fed up with my hermit life too, but continue to hang in there in the hope that people will continue to do their bit, particularly by becoming double vaccinated as soon as they are able to do so. After reading what Hannah Tamaki has been up to in the Auckland Domain today – well, words fail me.

      • Patricia Bremner 8.1.1

        Hi Jilly Bee, yes Brian Tamaki comes from Rotorua and our vaccination rates are very low. (Lakes) Those 5000 have had charmed lives so far, but with 160 cases today they are bound to pay for their beliefs as others overseas have done. I actually feel sorry for them in a way. They have been told so much rubbish. Liz Gunn is another with some wacky ideas. We generally have a good group here and a wide ranging discussion of topics. I have learned a great deal from what has been posted here. Cheers.

    • left for dead 8.2


  9. Ad 9

    5,000 people on an anti-vaxx anti-lockdown march is not to be sneezed at. So to speak.

    Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Auckland Domain lockdown protest – Brian Tamaki absent, Hannah Tamaki decries lost freedoms – NZ Herald

    This will very sorely test the Police's resolve to enable peaceful assembly while continuing to support actual law and order in society.

    Mind you if they jailed them all, on the same island, wouldn't they just kinda self-regulate?

    • observer 9.1

      Probably "anti-Jacinda" march would be the most accurate description.

      The signs/opinions represented include –

      Groundswell ("No farmers, no food"), entirely unrelated to lockdown.

      MAGA (Trump flags, slogans), again unrelated.

      Some NWO nonsense (e.g the speech about alien ideology, WTF?)

      Covid = hoax

      etc, etc.

      • observer 9.1.1

        Further to the above, one of the main speakers today was Steve Oliver (pictured in NZME coverage).

        He was a candidate for Advance NZ at the last election, receiving 481 votes. That was one-fiftieth of the votes for the winner, Deborah Russell.


    • Patricia Bremner 9.2

      Ad, the bulk are wearing masks. That is an improvement.

    • McFlock 9.3

      Just arrest any person who organised it or spoke at it.

      And have specific bail conditions e.g. social media bans, whatever.

    • mikesh 9.4

      It's not a 'loss of freedom', it's a loss of choice. There is a difference. A truly free person is free to countenance the latter when doing so contributes to the common good.

    • Stuart Munro 9.5

      Mind you if they jailed them all, on the same island, wouldn't they just kinda self-regulate?

      Although there is an ecological elegance to that solution, merely processing them into cells for 48 hours would probably suffice to deter most of the gratuitous troublemakers. And make no mistake, gratuitous troublemakers are behind this.

  10. Poission 10

    Farmgeek’s rolling data analysis suggests, that at least for now, new infections and the numbers in hospital have plateaued even though there were fears that daily numbers could have doubled to about 200 in the next few days.

    Still heading that way as breakthrough cases increase (4.65,5,6%) over the last three weeks.

    Uk NHS are quite succinct in the obvious..

    In the context of very high vaccine coverage in the population, even with a highly effective vaccine, it is expected that a large proportion of cases, hospitalisations and deaths would occur in vaccinated individuals, simply because a larger proportion of the population are vaccinated than unvaccinated and no vaccine is 100% effective. This is especially true because vaccination has been prioritised in individuals who are more susceptible or more at risk of severe disease. Individuals in risk groups may also be more at risk of hospitalisation or death due to non-COVID-19 causes, and thus may be hospitalised or die with COVID-19 rather
    than because of COVID-19.


    Need to ramp up the border controls around auckland ,and especially around the so called exemptions.

  11. observer 11

    Some notable contenders for the award of Most Deranged Sign at today's protest, but I think we have a winner … (too offensive to post so here’s a link)


    • Graeme 11.1

      Love to see what he'd come up with if he was getting oppressed by real nazis

      • In Vino 11.1.1

        He'd probably be the local Sturmganggruppenführer. (That might not be the correct term, but I like the sound..)

  12. chris T 12

    I am probably a complete knob and forgive me if I am, just watching the TV and about kids vaccinations.

    Are we not better off with just letting them get the thing?

    Over and done with etc

    Edit: Obviously there will be kids in more fragile situations, but but just generally

      • chris T 12.1.1

        Not really rollng the dice though is it.

        They have more chance of being hit by a car, than dying of covid

        • aj

          We do our best to make sure kids are not hit by cars.

        • Tricledrown

          Only slightly Chris 572 child deaths in the US from covid 19 now a preventable disease as the vaccine has been approved for a younger cohort.

          608 children died from car accidents in the US 38% not wearing safety seats or belt many of the rest not wearing restraints properly.

          So very close numbers Chris if children were vaccinated those figures would be much lower.

          If you are going to be a good troll it may pay to check your pathetic false equivalences first.

          As they say in politics less is more.you can't get away with making stuff up as anyone can check it out within 30seconds.

          • chris T

            As much as you want me to be trolling I am just saying maybe it is better letting kids get the thing and get over it.

            • McFlock

              yeah, but how much of that "just saying" is a rational assessment of actual risk, vs that assessment being skewed by your desire for all this pandemic shit to finally end?

              Because the penalty for failure is pretty high.

              • chris T

                I am in Wellington. Very little restrictions are on us. Nothing really needs to end.

                I also see very little risk with kids, if their elders are vacced

                • McFlock

                  You see very little risk because you shut your eyes to things like hospital admissions, based on just reckons.

                  • chris T

                    What hospital admissions? As long as the adults are vaxed.

                    Sorry. But I am beginning to get tired of the whole thing.

                    • McFlock

                      You are tired.

                      The kids who went to hospital in our current outbreak, who you claimed (without a skerrick of anything other than wishful thinking) were "probably" admitted for other reasons.

                      That "probaby" does a lot of heavy lifting for how safe your idea is.

    • Andre 12.2

      In our current outbreak, 640 kids have got the 'rona and 11 of them hospitalised. Kids under 12 are roughly 15% of the population. Almost certainly some of those kids will suffer long-term effects.

      194 of the adults that got the 'rona were fully vaccinated (more than 2 weeks after second dose), and 3 of them have been hospitalised. Roughly half the population of eligible adults were fully vaccinated on average over the duration of the outbreak, call it 40% of the total population are fully vaxed adults.

      Kids are getting the 'rona and being hospitalised at roughly 8x the rate of fully vaxed adults. That is, roughly three times as many kids have got covid, and been hospitalised for it compared to fully vaxed adults, even though the population of kids is only roughly 1/3 the size of the population of fully vaxed adults.


      • chris T 12.2.1

        And they will end up fine.

        There is a difference between hospitalised and on ICU. They are probably in there for other reasons

        • Andre

          You got any actual basis for your assertion that "they will end up fine"?

          In the end, the most important comparison is the risk of harm from the disease vs risk of harm from the vaccine.

          For kids under 12, any risks of harm from the vaccine are so low that they haven't been detected yet in the trials done so far. But the risk of harm from the actual disease is high enough to be of significant concern and justifies significant efforts to reduce those risks.

          It looks like you didn't read joe90's link, so chances are you won't read this one either. But it's still worth posting for other interested readers.


          Or if you’ve got a soft spot for some snark, try:


          • chris T

            Yes. Piss all kids have died of it.

            Look. I don't perticularly care if the vaccine is pushed on kids or not, as I don't see it as that big a deal kids getting it.

            Just personally think kids would be better off just getting the real thing and getting over it.

            • Tricledrown

              For Christ's sake ChrisT get over it many children are ending up with long covid ,more chance of spread to those who are vaccinated but with underlying health conditions and to the unvaccinated who will end up clogging up our cheapskate health system after 9yrs of cuts of 20% health funding under national .for minor tax cuts just before each election.

          • chris T

            Most adults get over it

            • joe90

              Feeling lucky, huh.


              A year and a half into the pandemic, the condition known as Long COVID continues to stump doctors. A significant number of patients develop long-term symptoms after catching COVID-19, but it hasn’t been clear why that happens, who is likely to get sick or even how many people continue to suffer.


              The report was released on June 15 by health care nonprofit FAIR Health and has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. FAIR Health analyzed private health care claim records for nearly 2 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2020. The people in the study ranged in age from babies to the elderly; some 53% were female and 47% were male.

              Twenty-three percent of them reported one or more health issues at least 30 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The most common included pain, breathing trouble, high cholesterol, malaise and/or fatigue and high blood pressure. But the reported post-COVID symptoms were quite varied, running the gamut from depression and anxiety to skin conditions to heart issues and gastrointestinal distress.



              COVID-19 can involve persistence, sequelae, and other medical complications that last weeks to months after initial recovery. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to identify studies assessing the long-term effects of COVID-19. LitCOVID and Embase were searched to identify articles with original data published before the 1st of January 2021, with a minimum of 100 patients. For effects reported in two or more studies, meta-analyses using a random-effects model were performed using the MetaXL software to estimate the pooled prevalence with 95% CI. PRISMA guidelines were followed. A total of 18,251 publications were identified, of which 15 met the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of 55 long-term effects was estimated, 21 meta-analyses were performed, and 47,910 patients were included (age 17–87 years). The included studies defined long-COVID as ranging from 14 to 110 days post-viral infection. It was estimated that 80% of the infected patients with SARS-CoV-2 developed one or more long-term symptoms. The five most common symptoms were fatigue (58%), headache (44%), attention disorder (27%), hair loss (25%), and dyspnea (24%). Multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to developing preventive measures, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical management strategies with whole-patient perspectives designed to address long COVID-19 care.


              • chris T

                Fantastic, but you can't deny 100s of thousands of people have had it and got over it. Especially kids

                • McFlock

                  Millions have died. Even kids.

                  • chris T

                    Millions of kids have not died

                    • McFlock

                      I said kids have died. What order of magnitude makes it okay? Hundreds? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

                  • chris T

                    Millions of adults have,

                    Though most of them had underlying conditions

                    • McFlock

                      Most, huh? That makes it fine, then.

                    • chris T

                      Not fine, but probably hitting live with. Like flu and car deaths a year there is a it is what it is point. Former last year were added about 400 – 600

                      That isn't even taking into account how many cancer ops have been put off because some twat has a cough thinks they are dying of covid and clogging up the health system.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, we spend millions a year trying to reduce deaths from all causes.

                      And "live with" covid has always seemed to e a poor choice of words to me.

              • chris T

                I think it is one of those things, we may have to just agree to disagree on.

            • Tricledrown

              Yeah right just like Bosinaro ChrisT.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Or if you've got a soft spot for actual expert advice

            The UK's vaccine advisory body has refused to give the green light to vaccinating healthy children aged 12-15 years on health grounds alone.

            The JCVI said children were at such a low risk from the virus that jabs would offer only a marginal benefit.

            The UK's four chief medical officers have now been asked to have the final say, and to consider the wider impact on schools and society.

            Health Secretary Sajid Javid said a decision would be made shortly.

            The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation did advise widening the existing vaccine programme to include an extra 200,000 teenagers with specific underlying conditions.

            Doctors identified that children with chronic heart, lung and liver conditions were at much higher risk of Covid than healthy children.

            Insufficient evidence'

            The decision not to recommend the vaccine to all healthy children was based on concern over an extremely rare side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which causes heart inflammation, and can lead to palpitations and chest pain.

            Data from the US, where millions of young teenagers have been vaccinated, suggests there are 60 cases of the heart condition for every million second doses given to 12 to 17-year-old boys (compared to eight in one million girls).

            But as children are at such low risk from the virus, the JCVI decided that vaccination would offer only "marginal gain" and, therefore, there was "insufficient" evidence to offer mass vaccination to this age group.

            The JCVI said it was difficult to factor in long Covid in its advice because of the uncertainty over how common it is in children, although it appears to be less prevalent than in adults.

            The vaccine advisers have been under huge pressure.

            Ministers have let it be known they are very keen on getting this age group vaccinated – both through their public pronouncements and privately behind the scenes.

            This has caused frustration among JCVI members – with some complaining about the habit of government officials sitting in on meetings.

            Despite this, the JCVI has stood firm. Taking into account the impact on school disruption might make a difference.

            What's more, around half of children in this age group are thought to have had Covid, providing them with natural immunity anyway.

            The judgement call remains very tough.

            This was over a month ago and I copped a ban for posting this here on TS.

            Of course, in the ensuing passage of time (because the Science is never settled ) the carefully considered advice from the experts was ignored and the mass jabbing of UK children has begun.

            This is not science and this is not sound medical advice.

            This is political…and very, very concerning.

            Anyone who thinks that giving these experimental injections to healthy children makes any kind of medical or ethical sense needs their fucking head read.

            PS. You're an expert Andre….tell us why there are only the two options for living in this covid world…vaccinated (clean, safe) and unvaccinated (filthy, dangerous)?

            Why is there no weight given to naturally acquired immunity?

            • Andre

              Why is there no weight given to naturally acquired immunity?

              Because naturally acquiring immunity requires suffering through a horribly unpleasant, dangerous, nasty disease with high risk of death and long-term disability.

              Whereas getting a vaccine gets you immunity with extremely low risk of any of those nasty effects of the actual disease.

              The only [deleted] are those advocating for people to get diseased, rather than taking a quick, thoroughly proven, very safe, very effective, and low cost precaution against getting and spreading the disease.

              [please stop using abusive terms to refer to other commenters. I understand that you feel strongly about this topic, but we still have rules on this site or it will descend into flame wars. Thanks – weka]

              • mauī

                Geezus it's not the fuckin black death. The propaganda seems to have gone to your head.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Geezus it's not the fuckin black death.

                  Correct, it’s not. But it has killed, and is continuing to kill, a fair few people. NZ's relatively good Covid health outcomes so far are no cause for complacency. Global active cases, daily new cases and daily Covid deaths are all slowly inching up, again.

                  Some of the lucky team might be singing a different tune if NZ's per capita Covid death rate was more than 1 in 500, as it is in the UK, US, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, etc. etc. There but for prudent health precautions, and vaccines…

                • Craig H

                  Agree, it's not treatable by antibiotics for one thing. It's approximately as bad as polio though (similar R0, infectious period and higher death rates).

                  • I remember the polio epidemic ; no school for months and neighbourhood kids disappearing for a time from our little community. When school finally reopened we'd all walk / clank along slowly together because some of our unluckier friends had to wear leg irons and manage crutches. Later in life some developed symptoms again – a kind of long polio. And we all read the stories of people living in iron lungs and thanked god that we'd been spared. A frightening time.

              • weka

                mod note.

            • weka

              "Why is there no weight given to naturally acquired immunity?"

              What's the evidence base that this is a useful approach? I haven't followed this aspect of the debate.

              • chris T

                TBF if you are a healthy kid with little to zero chance of dying from the thing. Probably not even knowing you have it, then I can't see how having the vax is better than just getting it.and building up natural immunity.

                Too late for us oldies and we are a bit screwed without the vax, but youngies mah

                • weka

                  then I can't see how having the vax is better than just getting it.and building up natural immunity.

                  Scientists on the other hand can see. I've linked to some research summaries elsewhere in the thread where efficacy and longevity of natural immunity is compared to efficacy and longevity of covid vaccines.

                  It's not black and white, and we're still learning about the novel virus and how it plays out in the real world.

                  Also, what are the long covid rates for kids? I don't think we know yet. Death isn't the only bad outcome here.

                • KJT

                  Ignoring both the higher rate of childhood respiratory diseases in NZ compared with most Western countries.

                  And. Parents, Grandparents and caregivers dying or having serious illnesses, tends to have long term ill effects on the future prospects and health of young children.

              • weka

                We obtained antibody optical density data for six human-infecting coronaviruses, extending from 128 days to 28 years after infection between 1984 and 2020. These data provided a means to estimate profiles of the typical antibody decline and probabilities of reinfection over time under endemic conditions. Reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 under endemic conditions would likely occur between 3 months and 5·1 years after peak antibody response, with a median of 16 months. This protection is less than half the duration revealed for the endemic coronaviruses circulating among humans (5–95% quantiles 15 months to 10 years for HCoV-OC43, 31 months to 12 years for HCoV-NL63, and 16 months to 12 years for HCoV-229E). For SARS-CoV, the 5–95% quantiles were 4 months to 6 years, whereas the 95% quantiles for MERS-CoV were inconsistent by dataset.


                Among COVID-19–like illness hospitalizations among adults aged ≥18 years whose previous infection or vaccination occurred 90–179 days earlier, the adjusted odds of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 among unvaccinated adults with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were 5.49-fold higher than the odds among fully vaccinated recipients of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine who had no previous documented infection (95% confidence interval = 2.75–10.99).


                So we don't yet know the efficacy and longevity of the vaccines, and we know that natural immunity offers less protection in the short term, and we don't know how this is going to play out over medium/long term. Novel virus.

                People with great faith in mainstream medicine will naturally err towards trusting the vaccine as the primary tool. Those with bad experiences of mainstream medicine will be more sceptical, and will be looking at the uncertainties in the research and wondering if this is the all eggs on one basket is the best approach.

              • mikesh

                People who have contracted covid19 in the past may feel that, having brought into being the necessary antibodies, they don't really need a vaccination.

                • weka

                  probably. Not sure the evidence supports this view. Or rather, if they rely on natural immunity they need to be aware of the risks.

            • georgecom

              on health grounds alone Rosemary the evidence might suggest giving covid vaccines to children with serious illness. And yes very likely initial covid illness is likely to be milder for children. That does not describe what the impact of long covid might be for otherwise healthy children. seems that might not be clear yet, or maybe it is. I admit to not being an expert, just an interested observer of vaccine development and deployment.

              vaccinating children in households where there are frail or ill adults makes sense, the child could well be a pathway into the household. vaccinating a child will likely help toward excellent household protection.

              Beyond that vaccinating children to suppress the spread of covid is another factor. if it is safe to do so I am not opposed. We see the reverse, where measles is circulating adults in a household are encouraged to be vaccinated least they infect children. Not a direct 1 for 1 analogy, but certainly similar.

              • georgecom

                as for natural immunity, in the case of the UK the virus ran uncontested and likely did infect 10s or 100s of thousands of kids under 12 and they will have some degree of natural immunity. Without knowing for certain I suspect their immunity will be better than an adult in a similar situation as I understand a childs immunity is stronger in most cases that adults.

                In NZ we have a different situation. A population wide natural immunity does not exist as in the UK or US or India. We are facing a first wave really, second if you consider the historic big lockdown as the first. We are wanting to suppress things as much as possible as we open up, not open up after enduring 2 or 3 devastating waves. That somewhat changes the equation in terms of kids. Specifically, will vaccinating them safely add a reasonable extra layer of suppression.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            Andre, I am trying to be patient with those of you seemingly so blinded by fear of both Covid and lockdowns that reason crumbles…but you sir are taxing my tolerance.

            I missed this yesterday… https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126811054/covid19-should-we-vaccinate-the-kids …and tbh I have just about given up our msm producing anything approaching proper independent journalism. But Nikki Macdonald has proven that this still exists in these 'we are the one source of truth' times.

            Of course you won't read it because it fails to support your particular world view…which sadly is not based on science..and you will persist in demanding that all and every human kiwi is jabbed with the Pfizer so you can go back to whatever was your former life.

            What is the risk to children from Covid-19?

            In all the anxiety around classroom ventilation and children returning to school, a critical fact seems to have been lost – most kids who develop Covid get very mild infection. Many won't even know they've got it.

            And the risk of death for a healthy 5-11-year-old lies somewhere between infinitesimal and minuscule .

            That's because Covid is a disease hugely influenced by age. As one analysis put it, someone older than 85 is more than 10,000 times more at risk of dying than a child younger than 10. And an unvaccinated 10-year-old has a lower death risk than a vaccinated 25-year-old.

            However, research suggests the hospitalisation numbers are likely to be an overestimate, as up to 80 per cent of Covid-positive children in hospital will be there with Covid, not because of Covid. Sydney 15-year-old Osama Suduh, for example, died in hospital with Covid, but from pneumococcal meningitis.

            A Californian study found 40 per cent of kids in hospital with Covid had no symptoms, and 45 per cent of admissions were unlikely to be because of Covid.

            When it comes to children, Covid-19 is not the bubonic plague, says Otago University professor of women's and children's health Peter McIntyre.

            “OK it's bad, but it's not ebola or 1918-19 flu. We've got to be a little bit balanced.’’

            What are the risks and benefits of vaccinating children?

            Measles, diphtheria, polio – our childhood vaccination programme is designed to prevent children getting dangerous diseases. Often, they're diseases more hazardous to infants than to adults.

            Covid is the reverse. So does the case for vaccination stack up? Walls sums up the conundrum.

            “There are almost no vaccines that we give to children, where we give it primarily to protect others in the community. When we vaccinate young children, we're doing it to protect them. The extremely low rate of severe disease in children this age means that it is a difficult ethical issue.

            We can choose to ignore these experts and plough on regardless. Ardern is certainly very keen on the idea so it will probably happen, and those of us who protest and kick up righteous shit about this will be labelled by the likes of you as sociopathic anti-vaxxers who 'want to throw children under the bus'.

            It has been resoundingly clear from the start of this covid shit show that this is a disease of the old and sick. Not healthy young people and not most chidren. How is it that these facts have escaped you?

            Or are you and your ilk willfully ignoring data that fails to fit your particular opinions?

            Shame on the lot of you.

            • weka

              Long covid stats don't follow that pattern afaik.

              I assume that one of the main reasons for vaccinating children is to limit spread. This protects at risk kids, at risk adults, elders, and the hospital system and all who need it. That's not a pro-covid vax kids argument, just an assessment of the factors at play.

              I do agree that there are more than two choices, particularly because the covid vaccines in adults are known to be losing efficacy. This isn't an argument against the covid vax, but rather one for whole system design suitable for our situation rather than a desire to go back to some kind of BAU.

              • weka

                by more than two choices I don't mean natural immunity (will ask in another comment about that), I mean we have a lot of tools at our disposal and we're trying to put all our eggs in one neoliberal basket.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  I don't mean natural immunity

                  What is wrong with natural immunity?

                  It is not cut and dried, but evidence is mounting.

                  Several studies (in Qatar,15 England,16 Israel,17 and the US18) have found infection rates at equally low levels among people who are fully vaccinated and those who have previously had covid-19. Cleveland Clinic surveyed its more than 50 000 employees to compare four groups based on history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination status.18 Not one of over 1300 unvaccinated employees who had been previously infected tested positive during the five months of the study. Researchers concluded that that cohort “are unlikely to benefit from covid-19 vaccination.” In Israel, researchers accessed a database of the entire population to compare the efficacy of vaccination with previous infection and found nearly identical numbers. “Our results question the need to vaccinate previously infected individuals,” they concluded.17

                  It is almost to be expected these days that such research is followed up in msm by headlines such as…

                  Vaccine offers more protection against COVID-19 than natural immunity, CDC study finds

                  …so much so that one doesn't know what to believe.

                  However….the vaccine efficacy wanes significantly after six months whilst natural immunity seems to last much longer and protects better against variants. Common sense would suggest we protect the vulnerable groups…and we now know who they are… and support the rest of us to deal with Te Virus in the usual way.

                  This is in pre print at The Lancet.(not my favourite medical research source tbh) and makes for grim reading. A very large and comprehensive Swedish study…suggests more symptomatic disease in the vaccinated than unvaccinated once efficacy wears off.

                  • weka

                    …so much so that one doesn't know what to believe.

                    Quite. Novel virus. So much we don't know yet. My preference is for honesty about rather than either side making claims about the best way. Labour's choices at this time are a mix of neoliberal pragmatics, genuine committment to a principle of caring (but as we know, it often doesn't reach us on the ground), and the naturally conservative nature of organisations like MoH.

                    I posted upthread the research summaries showing declining protection from natural immunity.

                    Again, my view is that if we look at this from a systems pov (rather than reductionist one), we will develop responses specific to NZ, that involve a different kind of society, and that use all our tools. Not that I think the government is anywhere close to that, but it's what we need for climate/eco crisis responses so may as well keep saying it.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                “Long covid stats don't follow that pattern afaik.”

                A citation or two might support that statement…and our own quoted experts from Macdonald Stuff article admit the data is scant.

        • McFlock

          They are probably in there for other reasons

          Why are you making shit up?

          • chris T

            No one has posted anything to show there is more kids than normal in hospital

            • McFlock

              lol so nobody has disproved the assumption you just made, therefore you're not just making shit up?

              • chris T

                I don't know. As I said. I am no scientist. Just seems logical kids are better off just getting the thing and getting over it,

                • McFlock

                  And for that logic to hold, you have to assume that none of them will be hospitalised because of it.

                  But if any of them were admitted because of covid (rather than these undeclared comorbidities you're relying on), then no, covid is not preferable to a vaccine that's gone through regular safety testing protocols.

                • In Vino

                  Wow, Chris. Socrates had nothing on you, did he? You should be really famous in a couple of thousand years' time.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 12.3

      Are we not better off with just letting them get the thing?

      Who knows how long you might have to wait for "them to get the thing", whereas vaccination leaves nothing to chance.

      • chris T 12.3.1

        That is the thing though isn't it?

        Fprgive me as I am no scientists, but this stuff morphs and turns into now Delta. Next year probably something else.

        Forgive me if this is dim, but thinking if kids get the real thing now, it will be easier to fight the next one rather than relying on a new vaccine again and again and again

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Forgive me if this is dim, but thinking if kids get the real thing now, it will be easier to fight the next one rather than relying on a new vaccine again and again and again

          Maybe – any parent can choose to 'wait and see', which is certainly less hassle for now. The consensus advice of public health experts is to vaccinate children against Covid-19 as soon as that’s possible, but what do they know. Not possible in NZ, yet.

          Recommendations for the urgent need to vaccinate school-aged and adolescent children against COVID-19 in the Asia–Pacific region
          [16 Sept 2021]

          COVID-19 in children and the importance of COVID-19 vaccination
          [28 Sept 2021]

          What COVID vaccines for young kids could mean for the pandemic
          [27 Oct 2021]
          As the US Food and Drug Administration authorizes shots for children aged 5 to 11, researchers predict what this might mean for populations.
          Modellers predict that vaccinating children against COVID-19 could significantly curtail the spread of any new coronavirus variants of concern.

          Why do kids need the Covid vaccine? [30 Oct 2021]
          The coronavirus causes less severe illness in children, but experts say it's still important that they get vaccinated once the shots are available.
          A Kaiser Family Foundation poll published Thursday found that less than 30 percent of parents of 5- to 11-year-olds plan to get their children vaccinated. Another third of parents reported they plan to wait to see how the vaccine performs outside of clinical trials, and roughly another third do not plan to get their kids vaccinated against Covid at all.

          • Rosemary McDonald

            The consensus advice of public health experts is to vaccinate children against Covid-19 as soon as that’s possible,

            No. It is not the consensus...


            You need to read more widely Drowsy M. Kram….

            …beginning in our own back yard.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              The consensus advice of public health experts is to vaccinate children against Covid-19 as soon as that’s possible,

              No. It is not the consensus…

              Quite right to question my statement – I should have said that the consensus health advice will likely coalesce to making the Pfizer vaccine available to children aged 5-11.

              Rosemary, the Stuff report that you linked to began with:

              This week, 18 health advisers in the United States gathered to nut out the case for vaccinating children against Covid-19.

              When it came to crunch time, 17 cast their votes in favour. One infectious diseases expert abstained. On Saturday the FDA authorised the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11.

              What does consensus decision-making mean to you?

              If Medsafe authorises the use of the Pzifer vaccine for children aged 5-11, the decision on whether to vaccinate will rest with parents.

              Reading more widely, more carefully, and (above all) with an open mind are indeed worthwhile suggestions.

              If we have a high level of community transmission, even rare outcomes like hospitalisation of children, can be commonly seen. This is what has happened in the USA, in states where Delta is surging” – Russell

              I think it needs some careful thought around weighing up the health risks, the education and social development risks, and the protection in terms of the wider family and community, versus any potential adverse effects of the vaccination. And that's complex.” – Crengle

              You've just got to be very honest about what you're doing. Because of the numbers game, with the Delta variant, even though the majority of kids won't get very sick, there will be the occasional child that will. So there is a small argument for individual protection, but I think the community protection argument is probably stronger.” – Turner

              The child has to be at the centre of your decision-making.” – Plank

              Even if we can't achieve consensus, I hope that we would agree with Plank.

              • weka

                Does that wikipedia piece apply to public health consensus?

                I read the piece Rosemary linked, it's obvious she was presenting alternative views demonstrating that there is actual dissent from public health experts. Did you miss that? Cherry picking for your position doesn't actually address what she said.

                If Medsafe authorises the use of the Pzifer vaccine for children aged 5-11, the decision on whether to vaccinate will rest with parents.

                Except where the government mandates around schools, childcare, and any other place kids go.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Does that wikipedia piece apply to public health consensus?

                  If "public health consensus" refers to a consensus arrived at though a decision-making process about a matter of public health, then yes, it might apply to part of the decision-making process that led to the FDA authorising use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11.

                  Consensus decision-making or consensus politics (often abbreviated to consensus) is group decision-making processes in which participants develop and decide on proposals with the aim, or requirement, of acceptance by all. The focus on establishing agreement of the supermajority and avoiding unproductive opinion, differentiates consensus from unanimity, which requires all participants to support a decision.

                  17 [out of 18] cast their votes in favour. One infectious diseases expert abstained. On Saturday the FDA authorised the use of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11.

                  If "public health consensus" refers to the consensus view of the general public on a health matter, then possibly no – I’m not sure.

                  I picked four quotes (by four different experts) from Rosemary's link to illustrate the complexity of this issue, and the need to approach it with an open mind. Imho those quotes aren't incompatible with Rosemary's PoV that it would be unwise to vaccinate kids aged 5-11 against Covid-19.

                  Except where the government mandates around schools, childcare, and any other place kids go.

                  In the event that Medsafe authorises the use of the Pzifer vaccine for children aged 5-11, I believe that our government would be unlikely to mandate vaccination in this age range under current circumstances.

                  The Covid-19 vaccination programme was extended to 12-15 year-olds about ten weeks ago. Any public, political or health service pressure to mandate Covid-19 vaccination in this age range is unlikely to succeed, and the current 'non-mandating' consensus would likely be extended to 5-11 year-olds if the Pfizer vaccine is approved for them.

                  COVID-19 Vaccination in children [21 October 2021]

                  • Children aged 12 – 15 are eligible for mRNA (Pfizer/Comirnaty vaccination) from 19th August 2021.
                  • This vaccine is given as two doses spaced a minimum of three weeks apart and can be booked through the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
                  • This is not being offered in the school vaccination programme in 2021
                  • The vaccination is not mandatory
                  • weka

                    I don't think scientists get together in a room and use a consensus decision making process. I assume scientific consensus happens via a different process, and am curious now if it's formal, or if it's just assumed once a theory gets enough support.

                    Casting votes is definitely not a consensus process in the way the wikipedia article is meaning. I don't think they say what process they used.

                    "The vaccination is not mandatory"

                    Yes, and they said that about the covid vaccine for adults originally.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yes, and they said that about the covid vaccine for adults originally.

                      It's good that (scientific and other) consensus opinion isn't immutable, but rather adapts in the light of new ideas/information. Most people who even thought about it once believed 'the earth' was flat – a few still do.

                      I don't think scientists get together in a room and use a consensus decision making process. I assume scientific consensus happens via a different process, and am curious now if it's formal, or if it's just assumed once a theory gets enough support.

                      I've little direct experience of how scientific consensus is established and evolves, and assume that many processes are involved. On one occasion it started small, with two groups independently observing (for the first time) a certain type of chemical linkage in natural products. Prior to those observations the scientific consensus had been that such linkages didn't occur in nature. Once the observations were reported, others started looking and, 10 years (and a few papers, books and conferences) later, the current consensus is that this type of linkage is not uncommon in nature. That's very unlikely to change, but you never know.

                      A different type of process, from serving (many years ago) on a scientific (biochemical) nomenclature subcommittee, is much more one of a small group of scientists with narrow expertise deciding on the best ways to represent and abbreviate certain biochemical compounds/structures. If, after much 'back-and-forth' discussion (and seeking outside assistance), a difference of opinion could not be reconciled, it did sometimes come down to a 'majority wins' show of hands. Scientists can be as stubborn and reluctant to surrender their pet preferences as non-scientists, perhaps even more so in their area(s) of expertise.

                      From the preface to the 2nd edition (1992) of ‘Biochemical Nomenclature and related documents’:
                      “...especially we must obey those exigent lice in the armpits of science, the nomenclature commissions, when they forbid us to utter words such as calorie or molecular weight.

                      Scientific consensus may seem restrictive, but it's a tried and true means of progress. And, if science isn't your cup ot tea, consider how the general consensus on NZ's system of voting in elections has changed in the last 40 years.

                      If scientists as individuals, groups or in committees, including vaccine safety committees, arrive at an incorrect consensus, then time will generally correct their worst mistakes. The scientists on these committees, and those that advise politicians, will have a better understanding of the Covid-19 pandemic this time next year. In the meantime, I expect most are doing their level best to make decisions for the greater good – I certainly wouldn't want to be in their shoes!

              • RedLogix

                If the child has to be at the centre of the decision making – then how many have to be vaccinated to save one child's life?

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Don't understand your question. Is it contingent on how dependent the child is, and availability of health services + other social infrastructure?

        • mauī

          Thanks Chris, you're one of the few making sense here and seem to have a better understanding of immunity than the magical thinkers.

          • weka

            It would help not to call people magical thinkers too.

            The science isn't set, from what I can tell no-one knows exactly what we are dealing with, novel virus and all that. Natural immunity is theoretical, as is whether vaxxing kids will give greater benefit to society than not.

            Maybe we can all take a breath and argue our opinions backing up as we go, rather than doing a my scientist is better than yours approach. This comment is for everyone.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              my scientist is better than yours

              Can we at least link to research from scientists who are not necessarily finding that the 'Covid vaccines are safe and effective, and more effective at developing immunity than natural infection narrative' survives close scrutiny?

              Because to some around these parts those scientists are misinformation-peddling anti-vaxxers.

              • weka

                yes, anyone can link that. I would qualify that with the advise that the source matters as well, but also acknowledge that sometimes it's hard to get dissenting views from sources acceptable to others.

    • cathy-o 12.4

      just let them get it and get over it?

      that used to be the attitude to chickenpox and measles stc. i had those as a child, 'over and done with'. oh yes.

      not until decades later did i know the later manifestation of chickenpox as shingles, very nasty.

      take those things too lightly and they come back to bite you. it's far to early yet to discount the long term effects

      • Dennis Frank 12.4.1

        I never got measles but one of my younger brothers did. Only time I was ever in hospital sick was with chicken pox and I was 3 years old. I still remember trying to get to sleep in the children's ward with stroppy boys yelling at each other. Oh, and they had a playhouse so big we could crawl through it from room to room. 1952.

        I was mystified when I got a mystery illness around 20 years ago when I was already quite ancient, which my doctor diagnosed as shingles. So you've connected the two for me when my doctor didn't! Has returned once or twice since in milder form but vanished again quite soon thereafter.

        Vivienne Berry, who learnt a native australian form of therapy (if you say aborigine around here some readers freak out), told me a decade back that I had embedded in my body some kind of residual illness from childhood. Looks like she got that right!

        • mikesh

          A paediatrician I know doesn't seem to believe that shingles has any connection to chickenpox, but my wife and I have both had shingles, at different times, and in both cases it seems to have been caused by our coming into contact with children who were just recovering from chickenpox. We both had chickenpox during our respective childhoods.

      • Rosemary McDonald 12.4.2

        Its quite complicated, the relationship between chickenpox and shingles…

        Chicken pox vaccine associated with shingles epidemic

        Sep 1 2005

        New research published in the International Journal of Toxicology (IJT) by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D., reveals high rates of shingles (herpes zoster) in Americans since the government's 1995 recommendation that all children receive chicken pox vaccine.

        Goldman's research supports that shingles, which results in three times as many deaths and five times the number of hospitalizations as chicken pox, is suppressed naturally by occasional contact with chicken pox.

        Dr. Goldman's findings have corroborated other independent researchers who estimate that if chickenpox were to be nearly eradicated by vaccination, the higher number of shingles cases could continue in the U.S. for up to 50 years; and that while death rates from chickenpox are already very low, any deaths prevented by vaccination will be offset by deaths from increasing shingles disease.


        • Brigid

          "Some experts suggest that exposure to varicella boosts a person’s immunity to VZV and reduces the risk for VZV reactivation. Thus, they are concerned that routine childhood varicella vaccination, recommended in the United States in since 1996, could lead to an increase in herpes zoster in adults due to reduced opportunities for being exposed to varicella. However, two CDC studies have found that herpes zoster rates:

          • started increasing before varicella vaccine was introduced in the United States, and
          • did not accelerate after the routine varicella vaccination program started.

          Other countries, that do not have routine varicella vaccination programs, have also observed similar increases in herpes zoster rates."

          My bold


      • joe90 12.4.3

        Pertussis. My brother's been bedeviled for sixty years by respiratory problems caused his childhood whooping cough and every winter brings new challenges.

        I can still hear the absolutely dog-awful coughing fits he endured, too.

      • chris T 12.4.4

        TBF Chickenpox and the measles seems more lethal.

        Had the measles as a kid btw. Won't get it again

        • cathy-o

          so the point is, people who blithely say we should just let people catch it and be done with it really don't know what the long-term consequences might be.

          it's far too early in the piece to know what we might be letting children in for by such an attitude but we do already know about "long covid".

          what next?

          • chris T

            With all due respect. It is also a bit early to tell what we a letting them into giving our kids a rushed vaccine

            • cathy-o

              yes of course. i would never suggest rushing in to give them a vaccine until well tested.

              but by now with the number of over-12s vaccinated world wide we have a reasonable idea. the important thing now is to establish a correct dosage

          • chris T

            Don't get me wrong. I have had the vaccine. Adults need it as our risk factor is higher if we get the thing, but kids, just ain't as urgent.

        • Tricledrown

          ChrisT measles can cause brain damage ,back in the day before vaccines people died or suffered permanent damage.Statistics weren't kept as accurately on childhood mortality rates or longterm damage.

          But vaccines have virtually wiped out measles and chickenpox.

          Childhood infections have been proven to stunt growth. Scientists have taken bone samples from children who have suffered preventable diseases and compared them to vaccinated children .

          Lancet published that research several years ago.

    • KJT 12.5

      Unless you have kids or grandkids with the sort of repiratory problems which make covid much more dangerous.

      Look at our third world Reumatic fever rates.

      • chris T 12.5.1

        That is a fair point.

        And stupidly didn't take that into consideration.

      • chris T 12.5.2

        Maybe the better option is where practicable, just vax kids with underlying conditions.

        • weka

          this would work if we had a steralising vaccine (that gives permanent and full immunity. We don't.

          • chris T

            Fair point again.

            I just have a lot of hesitation in mass vaccinating young kids, of which 99% would just get it and get over it without knowing they even have it with a still semi experimental vaccine.

            Adults yes. Necessary evil. No choice.

            • weka

              to clarify, 99% there is being used casually, it's not an actual statistic.

              • chris T

                That stat appears to be lower on the old deaths end tbh


                • weka

                  does that show the % of deaths in kids with confirmed covid?

                  • chris T

                    Sorry. Probably just me being thick, but don't know your exact point.

                    The numbers of dead under 17 with Covid and no underlying conditions appears infinitesimal.

                    • weka

                      I wasn’t sure what you were saying with your link

                      Relativity and context,

                      Death from Covid-19 among children is thankfully rare compared with adults. A large systematic review by Kitano and colleagues found the case fatality rate in children, that is the proportion of children dying due to PCR-positive Covid-19 infection, ranged from one in 10,000 in high-income countries, to two in 1000 in low- and middle-income countries. Among children, infants under one year old sustained the highest case fatality rates from Covid-19, reaching one in 100 among Covid-19 positive infants in low- and middle-income countries.

                      However, we need to continue to be careful to not draw too firm conclusions yet about any future Covid-19 vaccination programmes for children based on these data. We cannot treat ‘children’ as a block category. Younger children have lower risk, older adolescents have incrementally higher risk.

                      We also need to fit our strategy to the unique population profile of children here in Aotearoa, and to our local healthcare capacity.


  13. "Need to ramp up the border controls around Auckland ,and especially around the so called exemptions."

    The problem is that people have had enough of being incarcerated because the Cabinet can't make up their collective minds as to what they are going to do.

    My family escaped because we have bought a new house in Matamata-Piako but now our friends, one of whom is suffering mentally, can't have contact with us.

    The Government, imho, needs to lay out clear guidelines to the Police regarding enforcement – the time for "education" is long gone. If the Police don't have enough resources then call in the NZDF, if necessary giving them police powers by order-in-council. Arrest and incarcerate, and whilst they are in there, stick 'em with a needle.

    And whilst we are about it, suspend the Bill of Rights Act so we don't have to worry about "right to medical choice" and "right to return home". Labour have, for a little while, have an absolute majority to do this.

    Come 2023 look forward to an ACT led Government where NZ as we know will be gone.

    • Patricia Bremner 13.1

      Are you related to Tony Randall?devil

    • Dennis Frank 13.2

      With that woman gun-nut the minister of defence, eh? laugh No hang on, you'd want her as minister of police. Perhaps both?

      • georgecom 13.2.1

        would Judith as Nats leader get a cabinet spot in a Seymour led Coalition Govt?
        Deputy Minister of police or deputy defence

    • James 13.3

      This is a refreshingly honest view. Completely unhinged and fascist but honest. It is the honesty of those who view people as simpy pieces of meat (virus vectors) or angels, i.e one dimensional objects not subjects with autonomy, agency, and rights.

      I also suspect it is the secret dream of some on here (and Dan Andrews) given the mania for control and coercion and consistent belittling of fundamental human rights for something which is serious but self-evidently NOT the Plague, and even at current vaccination rates there are early signs our NZ fatalities will be hugely less than modellers predicted.

      It is one reason I am moving away from the Left. The fixation with identity politics and language is another.

      As Weka has pointed out, these are more than two options in our health response and vaccination remains the right choice for most adults, it's no silver bullet and partly because of this reason, the Govt has substantially overreacted in 2021 and its illogic and bullying will divide NZ further, and further, for very limited benefit.

      • weka 13.3.1

        It is one reason I am moving away from the Left. The fixation with identity politics and language is another.

        Where are you moving?

        Pretty sure that the job sanctions will increase the vax rate, which is what they are for. I think they're heavy handed, and were probably avoidable if we were addressing social cohesion and disenfranchisement issues in NZ in recent years, but this is where we are. My main concern now that they are here is whether Labour consider this permanent, whether it's shifted the political norm on government powers, whether the left will just let them, and whether this will factor in them losing the 2023 or 2026 election. Which brings me back to my question. Who will you vote for, because I can't see National being better than Labour on this.

      • Sacha 13.3.2

        How is calling for more enforcement "Left"?

    • Tricledrown 13.4

      The Police are stretched the NZDF is stretched managing MIQ.

      National and ACT cut police numbers cut defence force spending.

      ACT is for more freedoms and has wanted to open our borders.

  14. James 14

    That's a good question Weka. And I think very valid queries about our future norms on state power and human rights.

    I think undoubtedly norms have changed, and for the worse. The list of rights and freedoms abridged is long and heavy. Of course rights and freedoms are not unlimited and Covid is a serious issue, but the question is what is the impact of limiting so many, so fast, so easily, and in light of the dubious benefits and ignoring substantial other harms in society. I sincerely worry long term on its impact for a flourishing democracy where on a conceptual level we seem to view freedom so negatively and an entitlement determined by the Government.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big believer in social responsibility and fairness and compassion for others, but that should undergrid democracy – not overrule it.

    I had a very Left French-Canadian friend come out against lockdown and other measures last year. I disagreed then although shared some concerns. Now I'm seeing more and more she was simply early to the parade and quite accurate, although I am far more supportive of state control last year before vaccines and limited scientific and medical understanding of Covid.

    I suspect you won't like my answer for whom I'll be voting… It will likely be Act. I know, I know – cue the pile on. I dislike many of Act's economic policies but I come from old-school Liberal Left with a strong attachment to human rights, and with a vein of Libertarianism, but a strong belief in economic equality and state intervention in the economy (no capital gains was a big let down). Inequality was the number one issue for me for many years as I believe it does predict many problems now. But for right now identity politics, democracy, and state power concern me more and I see the new, progressive Left increasingly destructive in these areas and Labour so failing on core material concerns.

    Yes, the Right can also be destructive but they are not leading the way on this currently, and it's far more complex than Left = good and Right = bad.

    As for National, I'm not convinced they would have done worse actually. I don't think they would have done great and we'd certainly have a higher rate of infections and fatality, but I think it would've been more balanced and forward looking in our response and without that kneejerk resction of 'Issue? More power!'.

    So, not my ideal, but I believe Act will provide the best counter-balance right now and I think David Seymour far more personable and genuine than many. But with JA gone in 2026 I'll happy to revisit Labour again if it can show actual commitment and delivery on inequality and less obsession with control and identity.

    Of course, this is just my view – people will disagree and I've been wrong before and certainly will again.

    • observer 14.1

      If you're thinking of supporting Seymour/ACT then you might want to look more closely at what they have proposed throughout the pandemic. The fine principles of "freedom" fall away rapidly when asked the same question all parties must answer … "So, what would you actually do?".

      Answer: Seymour would be more authoritarian than the government. His consistent comparison is Taiwan, which is also a democracy, but with far tougher Covid rules than NZ:

      “In Taiwan they actually go and knock on doors to enforce quarantines, and then they use cellphone tracking to make sure they adhere to the directions.”


      “What I would say is where the difference with Taiwan is that if you’re going to have a rule, you have to be able to enforce it.”

      They use phone location data to ensure people don't leave their location. Police reportedly show up within minutes if the reception is poor or the phone runs out of battery.

      A failure to answer the phone can prompt authorities to send text messages such as: "Please return home immediately. Violations of home isolation/home quarantine regulations will result in fines and mandatory placement."


      There's a lot more if you care to look. Compulsory masks outside your home? Ardern hasn't gone that far, but Taiwan did. Thousands of on-the-spot fines.

      Sure, any of these policies could be debated, but what is not in doubt … they are stricter (less "free") than the NZ government you want to replace with Mr Seymour.

  15. Rosemary McDonald 15

    I no longer listen to Sunday morning Natrad…but a friend alerted me to this…


    Well worth a listen…a much needed reality check from a New Zealand expert in molecular immunology at the London Metropolitan University and a researcher with Imperial College.

    No hope of herd immunity via the vaccine and infected vaccinated have the same viral load as the unvaccinated.

    All the vaccine does is reduce the chance of severe illness and death…but you end up with heavily infected folk free ranging feeling well.

    My own opinion, and this makes sense, nature has it that infected folk are too sick to roam, therefore spreading the disease more widely.

    • Brigid 15.1

      So it's a good idea to wear masks and stay away from crowds then isn't it.

      Most of the people I encounter are wearing masks, in fact I rarely see anyone without a mask on.

      • Brigid 15.1.1

        Annnnd get vaccinated, thereby reducing the chance of severe illness and death, and this is exactly what we can expect from most vaccines. Pretty cewl eh

    • KJT 15.2

      The "same viral load" is not the same as the liklehood of infecting others.

      Symptoms like caughing increase the chances of transmitting respiratory infections.

      Being asymptomatic decreases the chances of transmission.

  16. Tricledrown 16

    Just finished looking at the lancet study a very small cohort 250 people used in the study.

    Only close household contact was where spread of Delta variant was near the same as unvaccinated people.But interpreting the data sheets (unlike the headline grabbing media) shows a shorter infection period for vaccinated and a 25 % lower rate of infection.

    Over the whole study vaccinated people were much less likely to get the infection even I dose vaccinated people had a much lower infection rate.

    This cohort of just 250 people should be given a low efficacy rating more studies of the minimum numbers for a proper statistical analysis should be looked at before anyone gets hysterical.

  17. Maurice 17

    Interesting comments from a European (right wing!) parliamentarian from Germany

    German MEP Christine Anderson

    "All through Europe, governments have gone to great length to get people vaccinated. We were promised the vaccinations will be a “game changer”, and it will restore our freedom…turns out none of that was true. It does not render you immune, you can still contract the virus and you can still be infectious."

    "The only thing this vaccine did for sure was to spill billions and billions of dollars in the pockets of pharmaceutical companies."


    Can anybody let me know if she has any validity or should we reject this as right wing propaganda?

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