Covid-19: Latest data highlights persistent gaps in vaccine deployment
Vaccination rates have taken on new meaning since the government announced earlier this week that the entire country will switch to the traffic light system starting at midnight on December 3.
Under the red and orange settings, many sites and services will now require customers and visitors to present a vaccine pass (often face their own restrictions).
This means that anyone who received their first dose after November 12 – and therefore should not receive their second dose until the traffic light system is in place – will temporarily not be able to access many daily services and activities.
If you receive your second vaccine today, you will be entitled to a vaccination pass from December 15th.
So, how are things going at the moment?
First, let’s look at the national numbers.
From midnight Tuesday, 3 853 592 people had received a first dose of Pfizer vaccine – this is 91.6 percent of the eligible population (12 years +) and 77 percent of the total population.
And 3,532,650 people have now been fully vaccinated – 83.9% of the eligible population and 71 percent of the total population.
The end was always going to be tough and the daily rates really reflect that now: We are vaccinating fewer people per day now than in May, when most people weren’t even eligible for the vaccine.
The overall rate is currently increasing by about two percentage points per week for the second doses, which means it will take about three more weeks to reach 90 percent of complete vaccines for the entire country.
Of course, the rates have varied considerably across the country since the start of the deployment, so now let’s turn to the district health boards.
Which DHB still haven’t reached 90%?
As of last week, the traffic light system is no longer directly linked to district health boards meeting the target of 90% complete vaccines.
But progress towards this goal is still being measured by the Department of Health and is seen as the gold standard for truly curbing the spread of Covid.
You cannot be 90% fully immunized until you give 90% of people their first dose.
More than half of all DHBs have now reached the first dose target: Auckland, Manukau, Waitematā, Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, Canterbury, Nelson Marlborough, Waikato, MidCentral and Southern counties.
South Canterbury may well join them today, with just 77 first doses due at midnight Tuesday.
Notably, all of these DHBs – with the exception of Wairarapa – are based in areas with towns. The urban-rural divide becomes clearer on a map.
Remote or sparsely populated DHBs like Tairāwhiti and the West Coast still have a few percentage points to go – and they’re making their way through at a rate of one percentage point or less per week at the moment.
At this rate, some areas may not even have reached 90% for the first doses by the end of the year.
Auckland DHB remains the only region to have achieved the holy grail of 90% of its eligible population fully vaccinated.
In some areas, a quarter of the population remains only partially or not at all vaccinated – that’s 25 percent of people in some places who (as it is) are unlikely to be able to eat or drink. have your hair cut when the traffic light system is activated.
Again, many of these areas are the hardest places to reach – although some, like Tairāwhiti, are also some of the fastest.
We’ll zoom in even further, but first take a look at the rollout through a few other breakdowns: ethnicity and age.
Maori vaccination rates still rising faster than everyone else
Because Maori are generally a younger age group, they caught up throughout the deployment, with many people only eligible in early September.
Since then, however, the Maori have made up for lost time, systematically getting vaccinated faster than other populations. Check out this early doses chart: While other groups are leveling off, the rate for Maori has increased at about the same rate over the past month.
It’s a similar story for full immunization, with the Maori closing a bit of the gap week after week.
You can see how it goes when you watch the first doses, which are now Maori dominated, thanks to a huge push from Whānau Ora and other Maori health providers to enter communities at low rates.
Among different age groups, first dose rates are starting to equalize, even the youngest age groups approaching 90%.
All age groups over 30 reached 80% for a full vaccination, and those aged 60 and over reached 90 percent.
How is my suburb?
So, back to these more detailed geographic tariffs.
Just as each DHB differs from its neighbors, so do neighborhoods and cities. The Department of Health publishes data for what are called “SA2” – roughly areas of a few thousand people each that are similar to suburbs and towns but may have slightly different names than you are. used to.
You can search for your region on this table.
While some neighborhoods have achieved 90% or more full vaccination, there are other areas that have only fully vaccinated about half of their eligible population.
You can see from the map above that these low rates are concentrated in remote, rural communities or where factors such as resource poverty (which in turn creates time poverty) have affected people’s ability to access. to vaccines without huge effort.
Again, this gap is slowly narrowing, but socio-economic circumstances are still a huge factor.
Even in Auckland, where more than 90 percent of the population in the three DHBs have now received a first dose, the rates differ from suburb to suburb. Take a look at some of the dark orange areas (high rates) on this map which are right next to the lighter areas (low rates).
Papatoetoe and Ōtara are only separated by a highway, but their vaccination rates are separated by up to 20 percentage points.
How is our deployment going compared to the rest of the world?
It’s time to zoom out again and see how our deployment stacks up against comparable countries.
New Zealand is still nestled in the middle of the OECD and still very close to overtaking our Australian neighbors. The Nordic countries (except Sweden), a handful of European nations, and Chile, South Korea, Singapore and Japan are also ahead of us.
More importantly, New Zealand hasn’t completely stagnated like some countries, but progress is slowing down.