Why rapid genome sequencing is key to finding out how long Delta has been in NZ, and how large this outbreak might be

Guest Author Aug 20, 2021

David Welch, University of Auckland; Jemma Geoghegan, and Nigel French, Massey University   We knew the Delta variant would eventually arrive in Aotearoa, but real-time sequencing, which produces full genomes from positive cases in less than 12 hours, will ensure the lockdown is as short and effective as possible. There are now 21 cases and we can expect more … Read More

New Zealanders haven’t been scanning in enough, and that contributed to the need for a full lockdown

Guest Author Aug 19, 2021

Andrew Chen, University of Auckland   Fast isolation of infected individuals is key to containing any outbreak of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, and contact tracing is a critical part of this process. Since the first case was confirmed on Tuesday, six more people have tested positive, including a fully vaccinated health worker at Auckland City Hospital and a … Read More

After its first suspected Delta variant community case, New Zealand goes into short, sharp nationwide lockdown

Guest Author Aug 18, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury   New Zealanders are back in their bubbles after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a three day alert level 4 lockdown for the entire country, and a seven day period for Auckland, following the confirmation of a community case — most likely infected with the Delta variant. This is the first community case since … Read More

Should we tell stories of vaccine sceptics who have died of COVID?

Guest Author Aug 17, 2021

Nick Chater, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick   As vaccine uptake starts to wane, stories have began to emerge of people who refused the jab ending up in intensive care, ruing not having had the vaccine, and subsequently dying. These cautionary tales are certainly attention-grabbing, but is it right to publish or broadcast them? If human … Read More

Phased border reopening, faster vaccination, be ready for Delta: Jacinda Ardern lays out NZ’s COVID roadmap

Guest Author Aug 13, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury   Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has released a “roadmap” for a phased process of border reopenings that could begin during the first quarter of next year — as long as New Zealand completes its vaccination rollout by the end of this year. New Zealand’s elimination strategy remains at the centre of the plan, but will … Read More

How far should compulsory proof of vaccination go — and what rights do New Zealanders have?

Guest Author Aug 06, 2021

Claire Breen, University of Waikato   With greater numbers of people being vaccinated and countries looking to reopen borders safely, the introduction of some form of vaccine passport seems increasingly likely. For New Zealand, where the elimination strategy has been largely successful but which remains vulnerable to border breaches, proof of vaccination may well be a condition of entry. Read More

No wonder people are confused. Most official COVID vaccine advice is way too complex

Guest Author Aug 02, 2021

Danielle Marie Muscat, University of Sydney; Julie Ayre, University of Sydney; Kirsten McCaffery, University of Sydney, and Olivia Mac, University of Sydney   As Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow, the message has shifted to urgently “get the jab”. And people’s motivation to get vaccinated is increasing. But with ever-changing advice, many people are confused about which vaccine they’re … Read More

Why governments will have to consider the costs of long COVID when easing pandemic restrictions

Guest Author Jul 27, 2021

Richard Meade, Auckland University of Technology   With governments worldwide under pressure to ease pandemic restrictions as vaccination rates rise and impatience with border restrictions grows, new threats become clearer. One of the costliest, it is now feared, could be a tsunami of “long COVID” cases. Long COVID is a serious ongoing illness that follows an acute episode of the … Read More

Could Britain be sued for reopening and putting the world at risk from new COVID variants?

Guest Author Jul 21, 2021

Kris Gledhill, Auckland University of Technology With most COVID-19 restrictions now lifted in England, the world is watching to see what this so-called “freedom day” will bring. Some scepticism is warranted, given Britain’s approach throughout the pandemic has hardly been a success. By July 19, there had been 128,985 deaths from COVID-19, and the death rate per million … Read More

Four in five New Zealanders plan to get vaccinated, but many people want more information about vaccine safety

Guest Author Jul 15, 2021

Jagadish Thaker, Massey University   New Zealanders’ intention to get a COVID-19 vaccine is at its highest since last year, at 81% of the adult population, according to our latest research. Ministry of Health surveys, which have been tracking public acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines since last year, also confirm the potential uptake has increased to 80% in May, … Read More