COVID-19

New Zealand cannot abandon its COVID elimination strategy while Māori and Pasifika vaccination rates are too low

Guest Author Sep 21, 2021

Collin Tukuitonga, University of Auckland   Auckland’s move to alert level 3 has also triggered speculation about whether the national COVID-19 elimination strategy has failed or is even being abandoned. While the government denies it, others clearly believe it is at least a possibility. The uncertainty is troubling. If elimination fails or is abandoned, it would suggest … Read More

New Zealand has ramped up vaccination rates, but too many people remain concerned about vaccine safety

Guest Author Sep 21, 2021

Stephen Croucher, Massey University; Doug Ashwell, Massey University, and Jo Cullinane, Massey University   After five weeks in the strictest lockdown, Auckland will move to level 3 restrictions from midnight on Tuesday, for at least two weeks. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was based on low community spread and an accelerated vaccination rollout. A targeted vaccination campaign will … Read More

New Zealand government takes a calculated risk to relax Auckland’s lockdown while new cases continue to appear

Guest Author Sep 21, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland   The decision to move Auckland to alert level 3 from midnight on Tuesday is a calculated risk by the government. New daily cases in Auckland have stayed stubbornly high over the past week, a period when many of us had hoped to see them fall to … Read More

Covax misses its 2021 delivery target – what’s gone wrong in the fight against vaccine nationalism?

Guest Author Sep 20, 2021

Rory Horner, University of Manchester   The latest supply forecast for Covax – the programme for sharing COVID-19 vaccines around the world – suggests that accelerating vaccination in low-income countries looks unlikely. Covax estimates it will have distributed 1.425 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021, significantly less than the 2 billion doses it was aiming for … Read More

Overlooked and undervalued, New Zealand’s community caregivers have become the ‘invisible’ essential workers

Guest Author Sep 16, 2021

Katherine Ravenswood, Auckland University of Technology; Amber Nicholson, Auckland University of Technology, and Fiona Hurd, Auckland University of Technology   As Auckland enters its fifth week in level 4 lockdown and the rest of New Zealand stays at level 2, spare a thought for the nation’s invisible network of essential community support workers. They are the people caring for those … Read More

Why a domestic NZ COVID ‘passport’ raises hard questions about discrimination, inequality and coercion

Guest Author Sep 16, 2021

Tim Dare, University of Auckland and Justine Kingsbury, University of Waikato   With COVID-19 causing extraordinarily intrusive and expensive lockdowns, vaccine “passports” or certificates are increasingly seen as key to getting out of them. Decision-makers and gatekeepers – from border guards to maître d’s – will have a means of knowing who can safely engage with others. To that end, … Read More

Languishing, burnout and stigma are all among the possible psychological impacts as Delta lingers in the community

Guest Author Sep 10, 2021

Dougal Sutherland, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   As New Zealand remains under different levels of restriction, the psychological toll of the Delta outbreak may start to show, even as lockdown eases for everyone outside Auckland. We know that stress and isolation associated with a lockdown can exacerbate underlying mental illnesses. But even for people with … Read More

Musicians are urging us to vaccinate: the Australian federal government should learn from these moving, hopeful ads

Guest Author Sep 08, 2021

Andrea Fenton, Swinburne University of Technology   A new ad has been released from the LIVE Alliance (Live Industry Venues + Entertainment) a music industry collective, under the guidance of advertising veteran Russel Howcroft. The campaign, Vax the Nation, is set to Powderfinger’s My Happiness. Here, the lyrics take on new meaning as we watch scenes of live music … Read More

With lockdowns easing for the rest of New Zealand, Auckland becomes the elimination frontline

Guest Author Sep 07, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Shaun Hendy, University of Auckland   The number of new cases in New Zealand’s Delta outbreak is now on a downward trend and we have a good chance of eliminating it, even as lockdown restrictions ease for most of the country from tomorrow. After a peak in case numbers during the weekend of August … Read More

‘Living with COVID’ looks very different for front-line health workers, who are already exhausted

Guest Author Sep 07, 2021

Karen Willis, Victoria University and Natasha Smallwood, Monash University   With the Delta variant raging across New South Wales and Victoria, health services are stretched and strained. Behind the scenes is a fearful, anxious and overburdened workforce. In the next few months, the health workforce will care for many more patients with COVID-19, with case numbers in NSW expected … Read More