Thursday, May 30, 2024

Auditor-General to review COVID-19 vaccine rollout

The Auditor-General will review New Zealand’s COVID-19 vaccination programme while it is being planned and through the early stages of its rollout.

“We want to provide an independent view to the public and Parliament about how the Government is planning and managing the COVID-19 vaccination programme,” said Auditor-General John Ryan today.

“This will include how the Government has gone about procuring the vaccine, establishing the vaccination programme, and how it is managing the most important risks.”

He said by carrying out the review during the programme’s planning stage, and the early stage of the roll-out, his office could identify any potential improvements in the Ministry of Health’s approach so that they could then be “acted on swiftly”.

The first doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine arrived in New Zealand on 15 February, and the first vaccinations of border workers began on 19 February. Next to be vaccinated are border workers’ close contacts, health care and essential workers, and those at highest risk if they contract COVID-19. The nationwide roll-out is currently planned for the second half of 2021.

In carrying out its review, the Office will:

  • assess how well set up the programme is;
  • assess how well the associated systems and processes are working to date; and
  • identify any areas for improvement so action can be taken.

“This review is the first phase of our intended work on the vaccination programme,” the Auditor-General said.

“Later, we intend to look at how the vaccination programme is progressing and how it is being managed, and form an overall assessment of how effectively the vaccination programme has been managed,” he said.

“Our report will make observations about progress to date and how well positioned we consider the programme is for the nationwide roll-out scheduled for the second half of 2021.”

“We will meet with the Ministry of Health regularly to keep it informed of our findings.”

He said the management and assurance of the programme remained the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.

“Our role is to provide information and assurance to Parliament and the public.”

The Office of the Auditor-General is expected to report to Parliament in May 2021.

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