Whilst Wellington's vaccine steam-ship wasn't even smoking, it was warp-speed elsewhere
Normally we wouldn't dwell on an issue like our sluggish vaccine roll-out. But it's an ongoing story since our government has gone to great lengths to discredit those of us who've been reporting on this matter the past six months. After National MP Chris Bishop discovered that Pfizer waited six weeks last year for a meeting with Wellington bureaucrats after requesting one from them, he observed, "By the time Government got its act together to get into position to negotiate agreements, other countries had already concluded theirs".
This line drew a ferocious response from Covid-19 Response Minister, "Chippy" Hipkins, who defended the Government's process, saying "When we agreed the vaccine strategy in May 2020 there were over 200 vaccine candidates in development & there was no information available on whether any of those vaccines worked."
No information, eh? So what does Chippy call the following lines in the scientific journal, Nature? "On 18 May, 2020, US biotech firm Moderna revealed the first data from a human trial: its COVID-19 vaccine triggered an immune response in people. The results - which the company ... announced in a press release - were widely interpreted as positive & sent stock prices surging". The May 2020 Press Release stated, "Moderna Announces Positive Interim Phase 1 Data for its mRNA Vaccine (mRNA-1273) Against Novel Coronavirus".
What's more, Operation "Warp Speed" was set up in May 2020 by the White House to fast track vaccine development & distribution. On 3 June 2020 the New York Times reported the White House had already selected the most promising candidates. The Congressional Research Office named them as Pfizer; Novavax; AstraZeneca / Oxford; Sanofi / GlaxoSmithKline; Moderna; Merck/IAVI and Johnson & Johnson / Janssen.
Furthermore, the inventor of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, Prof. Sarah Gilbert, told The UK Times in April, 2020, "I think there's a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine ... It's not just a hunch & as every week goes by we have more data to look at. I would go for 80%, that's my personal view."
Seems Chippy's definition of "no information" in May 2020 differs from others. And each week that passes - as NZ tries to get its vaccination rate up - costs another billion bucks. Making this the nation's most-expensive-policy-mistake-ever.