Essay by Keith Rankin.
I try to write about general issues of importance, in a general – indeed global – context. This time I will write just about me.
I am the same age as Phil Goff, Mayor of Auckland. And I want to be appropriately protected from Covid19. I have had three shots of the Pfizer Covid19 vaccine. My most recent vaccination – the so-called booster – was on the first of February this year. On 27 June I enquired about getting another ‘booster’ shot on Tuesday 28 June, before going away ‘on holiday’ on 30 June. I was not allowed to, because of a set of rules that have never been adequately explained. (RNZ‘s Kathryn Ryan tried to ask an expert on 13 July, but gave up in frustration.) The best I could do was to get a vaccination booking at my local Health Centre, for Wednesday 3 August.
(Between 28 June and 3 August, about 700 people in New Zealand will have died with Covid19. The substantial majority of these are Pakeha aged over 70 who received a booster vaccination ahead of the March wave of Covid19, and who have died (or will soon die) of Covid19. How many of these are dying for want of a vaccine booster?A rhetorical question. But the answer will be that at least one of these would have had a booster had they been allowed.)
I am classed as being in the ‘vulnerable age group’. Now, I’m not ‘very old’. But if I was the same age as Joe Biden, or even Jimmy Carter, I would also have been refused. I’ll bet that Jimmy Carter faced no impediments in getting a fourth vaccination shot. But Jim Bolger will have had to wait.
Anyway, I continue to be one of the dwindling number of people who has yet to get Covid19. Today, I asked if I could get my vaccination booking brought forward to Monday 1 August. “No”, they said, “we only do Covid19 vaccinations on Wednesdays and Thursdays”.
So I went to the local shopping mall. At the first pharmacy, I asked if I could come in for a vaccine on Monday 1 August? They said I could ‘walk-in’ any time from Tuesday 2 August. Why not Monday I asked; after-all Monday will be six months since my previous shot. They said I had to wait six months plus one day!! I asked why the Ministry of Health (MoH) requires that I wait that extra day. They had no answer.
So I went to another pharmacy and asked the same question. They said that “I could try coming in on Monday”, and that they can sometimes override the MoH computer. It was a roundabout way of confirming that I am meant to wait ‘six months plus one day’. I further questioned the Ministry of Health’s reason for this extra day’s wait, but the pharmacist had no explanation. He did say, though, to come in on Monday 1 August, implying that he would be able to do the system override.
At first impression, this situation – the needlessly long six-month wait – is a case of ‘bureaucracy gone mad’, killing a significant number of New Zealanders. And, regardless of the answer to that question, why must I wait that extra day beyond the six months?
MoH: Please just answer – not necessarily to me personally, but preferably to this publisher – these three questions? [Reminder: I got my third ‘first booster shot ‘ on 1 February 2022.]
- What is the medical reason why I cannot get my Covid19 ‘second booster’ on Friday 29 July?
- Why was I told by a health professional that I will not be allowed to get my Covid19 ‘second booster’ on Monday 1 August?
- Given the large number of people who become eligible for another vaccination in August, when and how will you tell the vaccination-willing New Zealand public that the rule is that they must wait ‘six months plus one day’?
Keith Rankin (keith at rankin dot nz), trained as an economic historian, is a retired lecturer in Economics and Statistics. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.