Friday 7 May 2021

Priority groups

If you live in New Zealand and need a vaccine for travel, the process doesn't look simple unless you're on the government's radar as a person of national significance

There are two further categories we are still looking at: one for people who may need to get a vaccine on compassionate grounds; and a national significance category, which could include groups who need a vaccine in order to represent New Zealand overseas.

There will be plenty of folks who will need to travel for business reasons and won't be able to access vaccines easily. The framing has generally been around the unfairness of queue-jumping, but where there's no community transmission in New Zealand, it perhaps matters less if an at-risk person in a remote spot is vaccinated in June or in September. 

There's now an option to crowdfund support for Covax: the facility that buys vaccines for poor countries. Give them $10, they'll get a vaccine to someone in a country that can't afford them otherwise. You can go and do it right now. Click the link. I just did. $50 plus $3.90 to cover credit card and transaction fees, and I've just bought vaccines for 5 people. But I cannot get a vaccine in my own country despite very much wanting one so that I'd be vaccinated in case I needed to travel in a hurry.

I wonder whether we could set an additional channel for priority access here. If someone makes a donation to Covax that would see 5 more people abroad vaccinated, could they get a vaccine that would enable them to travel? Is 5 too few? Is there a number that would do it?

If you need to travel for compassionate reasons, you might need to be travelling in a hurry. That requires being vaccinated long enough ahead of travel for the vaccine to be effective. That means getting vaccinated before you've got a compassionate case to plead to MBIE. 

Business travel can more typically be planned in advance, but unless you're an America's Cup sailboat or involved in films or an Olympic athlete or whatever is currently exciting one of the Ministers of MBIE, good freaking luck. You're not going to be of national significance, because you do not have pull. 

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