COVID-19

New Zealand’s mass vaccination event lifts uptake but highlights dangerous inequities as the country prepares to open up

Guest Author Oct 22, 2021

Jesse Whitehead, University of Waikato   New Zealand’s mass vaccination event last Saturday, when more than 130,000 people turned up to get their first or second dose, surpassed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s expectations. Super Saturday and a televised “vaxathon” were part of the government’s push towards a 90% vaccination goal. About 85% of New Zealanders have now had their first … Read More

COVID-19 cases rise when schools open – but more so when teachers and students don’t wear masks

Guest Author Oct 19, 2021

Zoë Hyde, The University of Western Australia   As students return to schools in Victoria and New South Wales after months of lockdowns, many people may be worried about the risks to their kids – and transmission overall. The role that schools play in transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been difficult to work out, but new evidence … Read More

Why Jacinda Ardern’s ‘clumsy’ leadership response to Delta could still be the right approach

Guest Author Oct 15, 2021

Suze Wilson, Massey University   Leading people through the pandemic is clearly no easy task. But does the criticism currently directed at New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reveal a major misstep on her part, or something deeper about the nature of leadership itself? Ardern has previously won widespread praise for her COVID-19 response and crisis communication, topping … Read More

How a random sampling regime could help detect COVID and highlight infection hotspots

Guest Author Oct 15, 2021

Stephen John Haslett, Massey University and Richard Arnold, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington   For the detection of community transmission of COVID-19, New Zealand currently relies on contact tracing, testing of self-selected people with symptoms and those with permission to travel between different alert levels, and surveillance testing of staff at businesses permitted to … Read More

No, COVID-19 vaccines don’t affect women’s fertility

Guest Author Oct 13, 2021

Michelle Wise, University of Auckland   Some women are holding off on being vaccinated against COVID-19 because of concerns the jab could affect their fertility, at times taking to social media to voice their concerns. Anti-vaccination campaigners appear to be fuelling these fears and misleading women into thinking the vaccine may affect their chance of getting pregnant now or in … Read More

Hit hard by the pandemic, researchers expect its impacts to linger for years

Guest Author Oct 12, 2021

Sora Park, University of Canberra; Jennie Scarvell, University of Canberra, and Linda Botterill, University of Canberra   The impacts of COVID-19 on Australian university researchers are likely to have consequences for research productivity and quality for many years to come. According to an online survey of academics at the University of Canberra between November 2020 and February 2021, they have … Read More

To be truly ethical, vaccine mandates must be about more than just lifting jab rates

Guest Author Oct 12, 2021

Matheson Russell, University of Auckland   As New Zealand’s race to lift vaccination rates continues, and with pressure to lift social and economic restrictions too, the role of vaccine mandates is coming into sharper focus. Yesterday the government signalled stricter rules will apply in health and education. But while public sentiment appears to be on the side of … Read More

Why we must not allow COVID to become endemic in New Zealand

Guest Author Oct 12, 2021

John Donne Potter, Massey University; Graham Le Gros, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, and Rod Jackson, University of Auckland   As New Zealand switches from elimination to suppression, those who argue that COVID-19 will become endemic and part of our lives either do not understand or ignore what this would actually mean. Elimination has always been a … Read More

Schools have moved outdoors in past disease outbreaks. Here are 7 reasons to do it again

Guest Author Oct 11, 2021

Karen Malone, Swinburne University of Technology   Leaders across the country – particularly in the states with the largest outbreaks, New South Wales and Victoria – have designed road maps towards reopening the states after long lockdowns. Safety in childcare, schools and universities is a core component of reopening plans. Year 12 students in Melbourne go back to school … Read More