That demand has surged in New Zealand for vaccination in line with the daily updates on latest cases of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 coronavirus is good news.
Yesterday, the Government opening the inoculation effort up to a further 1.2 million New Zealanders aged between 12 and 30, was a welcome announcement, given reports of the variant affecting more children and adolescents.
The problem is, there is concern about whether we have enough stocks of the Pfizer vaccine in hand and scheduled for arrival to keep up with the growing demand. This was not helped when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, while under pressure to assure the country there was enough, said: "It's not a matter of running out, it's a matter of whether or not we are in a position where we need to have a little less demand."
The latest advice from the Government is we have about 800,000 doses in stock and about 300,000 fresh doses are arriving each week. However, we are vaccinating at a rate of more than 500,000 a week. On current demand, it would appear we might empty our stocks in four weeks.
However, the cavalry is due to arrive, just as it did in July this year when doses available for distribution almost bottomed out. Almost all of the remaining doses expected to be rolled out this year, four million in total, are expected to arrive sometime in October.
It will be a close run to continue at current dosing rates with our diminishing supply and that is clearly what Ardern was referring to in perhaps needing "a little less demand".
For more than the usual reasons then, the Government will be hoping new cases plateau in coming days.
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It has already been suggested vaccination efforts could be prioritised in Auckland and this was backed by Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday. Any measures need not be heavy-handed. The situation is not so dire as to deprive provinces.
The Government says it has contacted other countries to explore receiving some of their vaccine orders and replacing them when our bulk supplies arrive. Australia has already made such an arrangement with Poland and Singapore.
Another option is the alternative vaccines New Zealand signed up for, before pinpointing Pfizer as our preference. We have agreements with four suppliers.
An advance purchase agreement of 7.6 million doses was signed with AstraZeneca, enough to fully vaccinate 3.8 million people. Medsafe has already granted provisional approval for those aged 18 years and older.
Pfizer claims its vaccine has 91.3 per cent efficacy against Covid-19, while AstraZeneca claims 76 per cent protection from developing symptomatic disease and 100 per cent from severe disease.
With options far from exhausted, New Zealanders should press on and take the plunge.