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Everyday activities won't be available to the unvaccinated - PM

Oct 19, 2021

If you are not vaccinated, there will be everyday things you will miss out on, the prime minister says.

A new Covid-19 response framework is being finalised and will be released on Friday, providing people with greater clarity, Jacinda Ardern said.

"It will become very clear to people that if you are not vaccinated there will be things that you miss out on, everyday things that you will miss out on," Ardern told Morning Report.

"It's about both rewarding people who have gone out and done the right thing but also keeping away people who are less safe."

She said by the time the framework is ready to move to, the government is confident vaccine certificates will be ready.

It's like an alert level system, she said.

"We've always said once we're vaccinated it will be different, so we need to therefore design what that looks like."

Ardern said the government is drawing some distinctions though, they don't want an environment where people can't access necessary goods and services to maintain their lives.

"We can't say someone can't get health services, medical needs, pharmacies, food."

The government is supporting providers who are providing incentives for people to get vaccinated, she said.

"Anything that they identify will work for their community has our backing."

Ardern said domestic travel is being looked at separately from the framework to be announced Friday, and work is being down to see if there is a way to safely allow movement.

"But that would have a number of checks around it - is there a way that we can use vaccine certificates but also acknowledge that even if you're vaccinated it is still possible for you to have asymptotic Covid."

The border is putting a lot of strain on Auckland the more time is it needed, she said.

"At the same time, the rest of New Zealand wants to remain... Covid free or be in the position to extinguish Covid cases as they arrive. So we've got to balance those two needs."

Epidemiologist Rod Jackson told Morning Report the government needs to go hard on those who just haven't yet got around to getting a vaccine - "With no jab, no job, no fun".

The second group of people who aren't vaccinated however, don't trust the system, he said.

"And for those we have to find the people that they trust.

"The only game in town is to buy time until we get everyone vaccinated."

The government has signalled a vaccination target will be part of the soon to be announced framework.

Jackson says if 95 percent of the population is vaccinated, there will be death, disease and hospitalisations for the last five percent.

"Those were the 5 percent who were the first to get Covid in Europe last year, those are where most of the deaths are, those are where most of the hospitalisations are...For the rest of us, we're all going to get Covid again.

He said people don't realise that.

"There's two ways to get vaccinated. You either get vaccinated by the virus, and that's brutal, one in 10 hospitalisations in this latest outbreak. If you get Covid after you've been vaccinated it will happen slowly because the vaccine is fantastic for dealing with severe disease but it only slows down infection."

Slowing down infection is the key problem a vaccinated population faces, he said.

"Because Covid spreads so rapidly, even if the vaccine has reduced your risk of going to hospital from one in 10 to one in 100. That is still one in 100 of a lot of people if Covid is spreading rapidly."

A flexible approach is needed, he said.


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