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Collins: High Covid vaccination rate ‘secret’ to getting freedoms back

National Party leader Judith Collins wants the Government to set a Covid-19 vaccination target so Kiwis have something to work towards.

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The National leader wants the Government to set a vaccination target so Kiwis have something to work towards. Source: Breakfast

It comes as the Government announced on Monday Auckland’s time in Alert Level 4, and the rest of the country at Alert Level 3, would be extended to at least next Tuesday. 

“Given the lack of vaccinations, the fact we are so far behind the rest of the OECD, and the fact the Government can’t find quite where the outbreaks are all connected that it’s important to continue with that lockdown certainly for this week,” Collins told Breakfast. 

But, the decision was “disappointing” for Aucklanders and small businesses, she said. 

To get out of having to use lockdowns, “it comes down to vaccinations,” she added. 

National has set a Covid-19 vaccination target of at least 70 per cent of the adult population. Meanwhile, the Government has said it wanted to get as many people as possible vaccinated, but hasn’t given a specific number. 

Collins wanted the Government to “front up” with their target.

She said she also wanted to aim higher than 70 per cent. 

“We like to have a target to work to and say, right, we’ve got there, where’s next?”

She also criticised the Government for not quickly rolling out saliva testing or rapid antigen testing

“If we get as many people vaccinated as we can, we get some targets in place, we reach those, we reach for more, people can understand we can have our freedoms back. That is what people want.” 

Collins was asked how she would grapple with a future outbreak in a population with a high vaccination rate. For example, Singaporean authorities are considering reimposing Covid-19 restrictions as a result of the Delta variant, despite its high vaccination rates. 

Judith Collins, National Party leader. Source: Breakfast

“We need to start looking at the hospitalisations. We need to talk about that as well,” Collins replied.

“As [leading epidemiologist Professor Sir Roy Anderson] said, you’re going to end up with Covid in the community, but people not being more unwell than they are with, say, the winter flu if they’ve been immunised.

“That’s the secret. If you get people immunised, then we get options.” 

She said she wanted to avoid using lockdowns in the future, "if possible".

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Imperial College London’s Sir Roy Anderson says that won’t happen in any location in the world. Source: Breakfast