Ardern receives Covid-19 jab to set example amid slow campaign

Sydney, Australia, Jun 18 (EFE).- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern whose management against Covid-19 has been considered the best in the world, received Friday her first dose of Pfizer, amid an immunization campaign criticized for its slow deployment.

“I didn’t want to be the first … but I also wanted to be an example,” Ardern told reporters after receiving her first dose of Pfizer in a city center in Auckland, the most populous city in the country.

Only 340,000 of the more than 5 million inhabitants have received both doses of the vaccines, equivalent to 7.7 percent of the population, according to the immunization schedule that began in February with workers at border posts and quarantine centers.

After vaccinating workers in the health sector and jobs at risk of contagion, health authorities are currently inoculating vulnerable people, and as of Jul. 28 they will do so with the bulk of the population, according to the age-segmented program that must conclude before the end of the year.

Explaining the slowness of the rollout, Ardern previously told Radio New Zealand that her country is one of the few that “has chosen to use Pfizer as a vaccine that will be used predominantly for the entire population.”

“Not many countries are doing this. This means we have different distribution schedules,” she added.

New Zealand, which has kept its international borders closed since March 2020 and has resumed normal life for months, is second last in the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development’s ranking of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns that covers 115 countries.

“It is clear that our deployment of vaccines is chaos,” said Chris Bishop, spokesman for the opposition National Party on the Response to Covid-19, at the beginning of the month, adding that “it is very likely that the reopening of the border is postponed due to a delay in vaccination.”

New Zealand, whose management of the pandemic has been considered the best in the world, has accumulated 2,358 Covid-19 infections since the pandemic began, including 356 cases classified as probable, and 26 deaths, as well as 23 active infections, all in quarantine centers for travelers. EFE


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