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  • Robert MacCulloch

A Question to Health Minister Hipkins

The Kiwi government appears to be obscuring what went wrong with their Pfizer vaccine orders. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reports:


"Israel ... this month acknowledged paying $ 23.50 per dose on average to Pfizer and Moderna to obtain early shipments. Even at this high price, vaccinating the entire population of Israel costs the economy only as much as two days of lockdown".


see https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n281


The BMJ reports that the US offered $19.50 and the EU $14.70, so I suspect NZ offered in this price range. In other words, had we simply offered $4.00 more per dose than the US then it appears that we could have secured a hugely increased schedule of deliveries, enough to have vaccinated most of our population by now, like Israel.


The cost-benefit arithmetic goes like this: for our population of just 5 million, paying $40 million more (for two doses) could have avoided billions upon billions of additional economic and well-being costs.


So my question to Hipkins is: did the Department of Health do the above kind of cost-benefit analysis, or not, when it was placing orders?