Chris Garrett gave us his Viewpoint tonight, The Virus called Covid-19.
A recent news broadcast by Chris Hipkins reported that it could be at least another 18 months before we open up our borders and I believe that is being optimistic.
He said, “Any mass vaccination programme would run for 12 months and, depending upon when vaccines arrive, it could take until the middle of next year or beyond.”
This means we do not have any vaccines yet and with current glitches in supply not satisfying the demand we are unlikely to get any in the near future.
By saying, “Any programme would”, it seems to me that there is not even a programme yet. So ...
Although we in New Zealand are more fortunate than most, being able to mix and mingle at will throughout the country, we are stuck here unable to leave or to receive overseas visitors without quarantine restrictions for another 18 months at the very least.
Keeping the virus out of the country by quarantine is like the little boy with his finger in the hole in the dam. Covid is always going to find a way of seeping through the cracks and we can’t keep the border closed forever.
I assume that the plan, when we get one, will be is to vaccinate everyone in NZ then open the borders, letting people in without quarantine. Obviously, this will increase the risk of Covid getting in which will challenge our immunity.
Of course, the World Health Organisation will try to ensure that only vaccinated people are allowed to travel and are discussing a Covid passport in the form of a Vaccination Certificate.
Overseas they are opting to vaccinate front line health workers and elderly people first. But vaccines have only been trialled on younger people so no one knows how effective the vaccine will actually be on the elderly. Those elderly who have been vaccinated have not yet been exposed to the virus and nor will they be intentionally.
Front line workers who have been vaccinated still wear full Personal Protective Equipment. Why is that? They have had the jab so they are now immune. Right? And if not, then where does that leave us?
Is the vaccine really effective or not? …..And does it cover us for the new strains of the virus? They think that one of the vaccines does but not sure about the others.
Time will tell, and I assume that is why NZ is in no hurry to find out, preferring to observe what happens overseas.
So, back to the master plan ...
Will we roll out the vaccine over the next couple of years and vaccinate every New Zealander - except, of course, those who refuse to receive it? But that’s ok because if they get sick no one else will catch it because we had our jab.
When we get our Covid passport Certificate, will we head off overseas? We are immune now, right, and we have a Certificate to prove it?
But there is still the nagging doubt about new strains of the virus. Are we really immune?
We are offered an updated flu jab every year, but how effective is that? And just remember that the new strain has to infect many people before they know how to engineer the update.
Covid is a pandemic so there will still be no travel insurance to cover it and the risk will always be with us so international travel is not currently a viable option.
My View Point is this, Covid 19 will be with us for many more years to come. There is no easy solution, so enjoy being in New Zealand and feel fortunate that we live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.