TODAY |

How does NZ’s 4 million Covid-19 jabs stack up against the world?

Aotearoa reached the 4 million Covid-19 vaccination doses mark on Tuesday – a number trumpeted as a significant milestone by the Government.

Figures from September 6 2021, comparing selected countries' vaccination rates. Source: ourworldindata.org

Covid-19 response Minister Chris Hipkins said the figure showed “really strong progress” and was “testament to everybody’s efforts to get it done for themselves, their family, and for New Zealand".

New Zealand and Australia - two countries which had eliminated the virus for large parts of the past 18 months - were both trailing near the foot of the vaccination charts for OECD countries a couple of months ago.

But with significant outbreaks on both sides of the Tasman, the drive to get populations jabbed has ramped up considerably.

A total of 72,893 people were vaccinated in New Zealand on Tuesday, bringing the total to 4,032,710 doses administered. Of those, just over 2,662,000 are first doses and nearly 1,371,000 are second doses.

As the chart from OurWorldinData above shows, NZ's overall vaccination rates, per million population – both single and double doses – continue to lag behind many countries.

The overall proportion of the population to have had at least one jab of the Pfizer vaccine is 54 per cent. That's slightly better than Australia's 51 per cent, but well behind Singapore's 78 per cent and somewhat behind the UK's 71 per cent and the 62 per cent in the US.

However, as The Economist’s Asia business and finance editor Mike Bird notes, New Zealand is catching up – and on track to overtake countries like the UK and the US which came out of the vaccination blocks fastest.

Sustaining the current rate of vaccination will be key to that, and that relies on there being sufficient stocks of Pfizer in the country.

Asked about this in Wednesday's media briefing, Hipkins says there are currently 629,000 doses in Aotearoa and that "at the moment, supply is not a challenge".