young asian lady nurse giving covid 19 flu antivirus vaccine shot senior male patient

Editorial

Get With the Program

August 30 2021 by Scott Stevens

Get With the Program

I read Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult’s quote in the ODT the other day. “Dire Straits” was how he described our predicament to Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. I couldn’t agree more. This is dire. And the only way out is vaccinations.

I acknowledge that living in a free country (except under current circumstances) means freedom of choice. And if some in a free society do not wish to be vaccinated for whatever reason, that is their choice. I pass no judgement. I think the Ministry of Heath estimates this group to be 10% of the population. I do however, pass judgement on is the next 10% who just don’t care. They are the 10% who would only roll up their sleeves if someone came around to their house, prised them off the couch with an offer of $50 and a box of beer to get the Jab. Just plain lazy and no interest in contributing positively to the rest of society. We can pretty much write this group out of the vaccination program too.

So that leaves the rest of us. The magical 80% of adults living in the Queenstown Lakes District. We all need to get vaccinated. It’s that simple. Current government policy is clear they have zero tolerance for covid in the community and the only thing that will loosen the strangulating noose of government control and business crippling lockdowns is an 80% vaccination rate, at least.

The Southern DHB is doing well compared to some other DHB’s but still, woefully short of the magical number of 80%. As of last Thursday, just over 54.4% of the eligible population had one dose, 27.1% fully vaccinated, leaving almost 45% unvaccinated. Subtracting the 20% based on my theory of those who won’t get vaccinated for whatever reason, that’s 25% of us still needing to pull finger and get with the program. Come on Queenstown, we are better than that!

We cannot live in a closed border world forever and keep the mutating strains of Covid out. Even the staunchest Jacinda Arden Covid Free New Zealand advocate must see the closed border policy is short term at best and a mere handbrake on Covid while we get the vaccination rates up.  Even with closed borders, Kiwis still have the right to return. And we clearly can’t contain those returnees in MIQ without the Delta strain getting out. Case in point… right here right now. So, what’s the only tool we have left? You don’t need to be Einstein to work this one out.

When we emerged from lockdown last year, the message was “go local, support local” and we did. As a local business owner, I really was overwhelmed with the support of our community and that of domestic tourism. Your custom again, is always very much appreciated. However, the message has changed now. The message is: the only way out of dire straits is to get vaccinated. Now.

Scott Stevens

- Scott Stevens