Opinion: Stop putting a spin on New Zealand's vaccination numbers, we are woefully behind

Our vaccination programme is playing catch up so stop spinning the results.
Our vaccination programme is playing catch up so stop spinning the results. Photo credit: Getty Images

OPINION: Last Christmas I sent a picture to my family in the UK of my children and me in a pool enjoying a summer of freedom that was the envy of the world. 

Two days later, my brother, his wife and son in England all had COVID-19. 

My parents, who are in their 70s, began what turned out to be a six-month lockdown as England battled with its latest outbreak. 

I regretted being so glib about how we were spending the festive season.  

Friends of mine in England started to message me about moving over here, such was the positive publicity around the success of New Zealand's elimination of the virus. 

Those friends endured a miserable winter in the northern hemisphere, locked down for many months. 

Today the tables are somewhat turned, as we are in our second level 4 lockdown, the UK is emerging from its COVID winter of discontent largely vaccinated and seemingly in a new phase of dealing with the virus. 

My parents are so confident they have booked a cruise, albeit around the British Isles but it is something a few months ago they were wondering if they would ever do again. 

As long as they give a negative COVID test and are both fully vaccinated they can board the ship. 

And that is the key, they have both been fully vaccinated for a few months now. All of my family, including my teenage nieces and nephews have received both doses of the vaccination.  

Earlier this year, I was told I would be getting my first dose of the vaccine in April. My age and an underlying health condition meant I would be among the first in the queue. 

May came and went and no dose.

The information then changed and I was then told I could book in July, not be jabbed but book. So when I got another email saying I was eligible I tried to book online, except the website crashed so I called instead. 

I was given a date of September 12. Five months after I was originally told I could get the jab. 

I know there were issues securing doses of the vaccine, but when the Prime Minister begins a press conference by saying "I have good news," and then telling us the record number of people who were vaccinated on Friday is something to cheer, it's not good news, it's just catching up. 

Putting the country back into lockdown was the right move from Ardern, there was little option once the Delta variant was discovered in the community.

Her management of the crisis has been generally excellent, but stop spinning the vaccination programme. 

It has so far not been a success. We are not at the bottom of the list of countries that have vaccinated their populations, but we are a long way from the top. 

It doesn't matter how many people have booked for their vaccine, a booking won't protect you. What is important is how many people have been vaccinated twice. 

I am at risk from COVID-19, males in my age group have some of the worst survival rates. I would really like the vaccine but won't be fully vaccinated until October. 

Meanwhile the Delta variant is in the community and many of us who are at risk shouldn't be.

I would hardly call that good news. 

Mark Longley is the managing editor of Newshub Digital