An international row broke out yesterday in Europe, with the European Union crying unfair and accusing Britain of hogging access to coronavirus vaccines at the expense of EU nations.
Boris countered, saying it’s a contractual matter which they expect to be honoured. Plainly Britain had acted quickly ordering the vaccines while of all countries, amazingly Germany has been the most lax and its government is now, unlike our media with our smothered crisis, being hammered in the German media.
This affair is further evidence of the inability of vaccine manufacturers to meet world demand, understandably given its size.
The odd man out in all of this is New Zealand which alone in the world, failed to place orders, notwithstanding seemingly blatant lies our Health Department officials fed the government four months ago.
This is a huge scandal and at long last our media is slowly picking it up.
Yesterday for example, Stuff published a statement from the Royal College of General Practitioners expressing alarm at this state of affairs which I’ve been warning about.
The GPs Head banana Dr Bryan Betty didn’t pull his punches, saying, “We’re at the bottom of the supply chain” and warned of the consequences.
I repeat; don’t blame the Prime Minister nor Health Minister Hipkins for his assurances to the nation back in October that we’re at the head of the queue. He was simply repeating what his officials had told him. The fact is far from being at the head of the queue, like the Congo and war-torn Central African Republic, we weren’t even in it.
What to do?
For starters get the sainted Ashley off our bloody television. As the Department Head his halo is now dangling down about his feet.
Then appoint a Covid Commissioner from outside the Public Service with over-riding authority to try and rescue this situation, although how, God only knows. The appointee should be a proven man or woman of action and not just a corporate figurehead type. In other words someone who actually created a large entity rather than a manager or Board seat-warmer “name”.
One possibility would be an appeal to China for assistance. China’s ability to mass produce anything at all in spectacularly rapid time being well proven. Currently they’re engaged in a global influence war following the fractitious division arising from the Trump era. Unlike Australia we, sitting on the side-lines, are probably in their good books and they may see it as a diplomatic coup to assist. There’s no harm in trying.
Another option would be to ask the Bangladesh government to handle this issue for us.
I say that as yesterday they proudly announced the arrival of the first batch of 30 million vaccines which they’re now underway injecting into their people. So unbelievably even Bangladesh is putting us to shame.
Britain is leading all of Europe in vaccinating and hopes to cover every adult by the end of June. But it also has the world’s worst fatality rate per capita and this week the death rate hit 100,000, mainly geriatrics and fat buggers, the latter a British specialty.
Note this though. Half of those 100,000 deaths have occurred in the last two months.
When the two German scientists announced the first vaccine three months ago the world breathed a sigh of relief. The dreadful 2020 year of the virus was behind us and to add to the celebratory mood, the abomination in the White House was gone.
The whole of Europe is now in lockdown which will have huge economic consequences. We can avoid this only with a great deal of luck. 2020 it now seems was a warm-up and instead, history will mark 2021 as the year of the great plague.
I say above the Health Department officials plainly lied to the Minister months back, telling him we’re at the head of the queue.
But on further reflection, given my past half century’s involvement with politicians and the Public Service I don’t believe that as it’s not the New Zealand way. Should there be an enquiry into this fiasco, here’s a more probable scenario.
It will be recalled that when the first vaccination discovery was announced by the German husband and wife scientists, the excitement was dampened somewhat by the news it needed to be kept in minus 50 degrees temperatures.
Did our officials then actually jump in first with orders as they told the Minister, but cock-up along the way in not establishing suitable refrigeration?
Alternatively, did they (understandably) scrub that order with its freezing difficulty and try and substitute it with one of the manufacturers now knocking vaccines out which don’t have such storage difficulties, only to find with demand far exceeding supply, we were now at the back of the queue.
There will be further such crises in future which is why an enquiry is needed into how this dangerous situation arose.
SBJ, the PM and health minister are in charge, therefore the buck stops with them, Full Stop. They are more than happy to take the good news credit, therefore the bad news comes with the territory, own it!
Sir Bob, agree.
In business if any employee lied to me they went down the stairs head first.
Clearly you have close political connections.
If what you say is correct then Bloomfield and his simpering acolytes should be sacked forthwith.
It is beyond pathetic when Hone Hawarira appears to be the only one who can provide timely and factual advice as to the spread of Covid-19 in the community.
On the other hand, surely it is the ministers responsibility to ensure that what he is told on such an important matter is truthful.
Particularly when he has had four bloody months to correct his statement and tell us the truth !
No chance of that happening with Ardern et al.
Many scientists (myself included, on 8 April, https://medium.com/illumination/dear-jacinda-ardern-prime-minister-of-new-zealand-e8dc2f5450e) offered several ways NZ could be near the front of every vaccine queue, by offering something of immense value to every vaccine developer and country at the time.
NZ chose not to do so, with our version of isolationism meaning we need to hunker down under the self-congratulatory shell we pulled over ourselves, now for a very long time, while others get on with vaccinations.
The real problem, perhaps, was steadfast focus on a strategy (lockdowns as the solution) rather than a core project management oucomes focus with strategies fluid as necessary (eg Taiwan at the outset, and even China, which switched from a lockdown to testing strategy in April/May).
If by “the German husband and wife scientists” you mean BioNTech, I undertand they are Turkish. Their company is German, which Pfizer partnered with.
Stopped reading half way through. I can’t join your lack of accountability for St Ashley and Ms Cindy bandwagon I’m afraid SB.
I think you are struggling to climb out of that hole.
She won an election telling us lies – of course she should be held to account.
The only thing I agree with on is the German press v’s our own. We are in serious trouble with such biased, pathetic reporting. Certainly no investigation!
Far too few people understand the false narrative that Kiwis were sold on Covid. Sir Bob was an early voice of sanity pointing out that our environmental conditions gave us a natural advantage. I am sorry he seems to have let this slide lately.
I was gobsmacked to discover recently that the government BANNED test kits for antibodies for Covid-19, in April.
My suspicion is that the government did NOT want it to ever be discovered, just how much spread of infection had occurred without even being noticed. The Infection Fatality Rate was being discovered through these tests, to be down around 0.4% and my guess is that it would be even lower for NZ. But there was a lockdown to justify, and the ignorant masses assuming the IFR to be ten percent or so was convenient for the narrative around St Jacinda’s powers of salvation.
Bob, the low temperature storage requirement for Pfizer ain’t that difficult. It’s the temperature of dry ice (solid CO2), which was commonly used decades ago to keep ice cream cold and available to kids to play with from NZ dairies.
I cant remember when David Clark got sidelined, but maybe instead of putting the order in he went down to the beach. The consequences might be what we are experiencing today.
Moral of the story, you cant hide the truth forever’.
Considering there is absolutely no evidence the vaccine works, who cares. The insane profiteering rush to develop more petro-chemical based, totally unproven drugs is barking mad. Most correspondents on this site have a brain, but clearly have zero chemical and biological understanding of the risks with new vaccines. These new vaccines are already resulting in huge numbers of “vaccine injury” and deaths overseas. None reported here in NZ.
The media worldwide are dysfunctional as an honest information gathering and disseminating institution.
You anti vaxxers and conspiracy theorists amaze me. They have done “a couple” of tests and the race definitely was on to “SAVE THE WORLD”. And of course make a lot of money. I think the production and distribution cheaply should be handled differently but as a world, economically and humanly, this needed pushing hard.
I hope you don’t sit in the “nothing to lose but your life” catagory (retired, taking a pension, perfectly capable of locking yourself away). Meanwhile millions throughout the world and thousands in this country, struggle to survive and are relying on the state and a growing debt.
We need a vaccine. At least you will be happy we are last to get it. Me I hate it!
Well said Mr Edge
A great post Sir Bob & I see you have added an “afterthought”
But concerning your first post, I would find it impossible to believe that PM Ardern would be in the dark on this as you originally state. If as you say Ashley Bombfield & Ardern have been lied to then I would expect Ardern to immediately call a “Breaking News” 1.00pm news conference telling the NZ public that. She had no issues calling special stand-ups last year when it suited her.
Ardern has constantly demonstrated that she does not like taking responsibility for any bad news so I’d find it hard to believe with the way things are going that she would not front up & throw someone under the bus if she could do so – if for no other reason than to make her look like the saint she constantly wants us all to believe she is.
However, I’d wager she has no intention whatsoever of doing so, as far from Ashley & her being lied to by health officials, rather it would demonstrate utter incompetence & BS emanating from the very highest of places…..
Adern learnt her trade craft well at the feet of Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell, a right pair of chancers.
Bob, any thoughts on the Gamestop gambling mania?
Good in parts. You are right in the consistent lying from MOH, and in that Ashley Butthole needs to be gone yesterday.
Right on the button for creating a new Covid commission. And specifically one that can actually operate and do it quickly.
I wil put my hand up. Credentials…. created Housecall in 1998. We were involved in the first SARS outbreak in 2003. When it was managed at the border, and in keeping suspected cases at home, and not in hospitals or GP clinics. Of course that won’t happen as this is all a political theatre this time. Coupled with the outbreak of witchcraft hysteria. Verylittle to do with good medical or scientific practice.
The concerning part is that the new strains emerging are more easily transmitted. It follows then that if the mortality rates stay the same, the end result will be substantially more deaths. There is an excellent easy to follow video of why here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMYAIlqOfow&ab_channel=SciShow
Having dealt with various Govt departments, my money is on the “I thought you were doing that’ committee mindset. I also think the Health dept people probably underestimated just how ruthless a buyer needs to be in a sellers market when the stakes are this high.
For those who can access Herald Premium, this is a worthwhile read from Matthew Hooton. He, too, seems to be finally waking up to the sheer uselessness & incompetence of this horrid government joke.
Specifically, and as I’ve been saying for some time, Ardern can keep on relying on C19 to cover up ongoing monumental government failures under her ‘leadership’
Sir Bob, “half of Britain’s 100,000 Covid deaths occurring in the last two months” is from a shocking manipulative classification of cause of mortality, and misuse of the PCR test at absurdly high levels of sensitivity and massive numbers of test subjects.
The award-winning inventors of this test are appalled, and are protesting about it. There has never before been such standards applied to “diagnosing infections” — the detection of the mere presence of viral RNA, which actually was intended to help determine the level of “immunity without antibodies”; that is, viral RNA would still be present when a person’s immune system had defeated the virus with T-cells rather than antibodies.
Using positive PCR tests to say a person is “infected” is like saying a dead enemy soldier’s blown-apart arms, legs, head and torso are six live, still fighting enemy soldiers. Then saying that anyone who tested positive and dies up to 6 or 8 weeks later, was “killed by Covid”, is the stuff of an agenda, pure and simple. This is not explainable by mere institutionalized stupidity.
The statistics for mortality are showing a collapse in all the usual causes of mortality for the first time. Heart, strokes, cancer, etc. Anecdotal evidence abounds of families highly dubious about the “Covid death” diagnosis of their family member. Coroners conducting autopsies are speaking out. If we tested for the common cold viruses and ascribed “cause of death” in the same way, I suspect the “death toll” from this would be even worse. Or the corollary to this is that in the past, we “should have”(?) called a lot of heart, stroke, cancer etc deaths “flu deaths”. Either way, cross-period statistical comparisons are nonsense.
“Excess mortality” is really the only statistic that we can trust any more, and there most certainly has not been 100,000 more deaths than usual in Britain.
Really great post. The world is being duped by “the medical profession and Govts”. At the end of this just watch the drive world wide for “MASSIVE” increased expenditure on hospitals and staffing. That said it is patently clear, undeniably so, that if we treated this like a usual flu and ignored it our hospitals would be over run by masses (which we have created with increased life expectancy ) of sick elderly and health impaired people. When ICU units are full of people with pneumonia how do you fit in heart attacks, stroke victims, cancer ops, crash/accident victims etc etc. 5% of the population are greatly affected by this and as high as 40% of those are likely to die. Yes 60% recover but only after intensive care.
In our case with years of waste on welfare and settling concocted claims our health spend has gone to health management and a ridiculous number of DHB’S not theaters, room or doctors. All to our detriment.
Sorry but I don’t agree that it’s not Adern/Hipkins fault. If this was King/Ryall/ Coleman and/or Clark/Key/English than they would be fully briefed on every minute detail. They would not rely on a “we’ve got this covered boss” bland assurance from MOH.
Frankly it’s reprehensible that Ardern/Hipkins have dropped the ball on this one. If we had half a decent media like in the UK then they would be fully eviscerated!
I don’t think the ministers in this government do the hard work – actually demand from their staff evidence of what their staff tell them, call it plausible deniability, but I think laziness and arrogance are more accurate descriptions – and this disconnect between what they claim they’re told and what’s actually going on in their departments has happened again and again and again. I suspect a National Party led government would see ministers not so docilely led by the nose with staff in control (shades of “Yes Minister’).