Health system would 'absolutely not' be capable of rolling out Covid-19 vaccine, says NZMA

New Zealand’s health system would “absolutely not” be capable of rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine effectively, according to the New Zealand Medical Association.

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Dr Vanessa Weenink of the New Zealand Medical Association says a virus vaccine would “absolutely not” be rolled out effectively. Source: Breakfast

It follows a 1 NEWS investigation which revealed the Ministry of Health was aware of a flu vaccine shortage, despite officials repeatedly denying it.

Vanessa Weenink of the NZMA says she believes the flu vaccine bungle is a "systems-wide" problem, and it would “absolutely not” be capable of distributing a coronavirus vaccine, should one be created soon.

“We need to have a system that will work and a planned and coordinated approach," Ms Weenink told TVNZ1's Breakfast. 

“A Covid vaccine is going to be the most valuable item on the planet in the next wee while, hopefully, and we need to be distributing that in a way that’s fair and targets the most vulnerable first.”

1 NEWS investigation: Emails reveal ministry's flu vaccine shortage worries, despite opposite message to public

She said it can’t be a situation where occupational suppliers are “giving it to business people who want it for their executives”.

“It needs to be done in a much more coordinated way.”

The investigation into New Zealand's flu vaccine shortage revealed the ministry knew about it - and even warned the Government - despite telling the public a different story.

Ministry of Health emails, released under the Official Information Act, revealed people had explicitly discussed low stock levels and their struggles to fulfil orders.

Though the health system needs work, Dr Weenink said she doesn't believe those involved were "deliberately trying to mislead the public". But, she said the issues at hand are yet to be fixed.

"The same issues probably still exist ... All of the players need to sit down and map out the system. There is a will for that to happen it just needs to have all of the right people in the right place.

"I think the whole system needs to be looked at and improved."