23 Sep 2021

Professor Shaun Hendy explains Covid-19 scenario modelling

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 23 September 2021

New modelling shows New Zealand needs to vaccinate most people five years and up to keep the Covid-19 death rate about the same as the seasonal flu.

Te Pūnaha Matatini modellers say the higher the level of vaccination across the country, the lower the need for lockdowns.

Roughly 73 percent of the country's eligible population has currently received one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Professor Shaun Hendy told Checkpoint the point of the modelling released today from Te Pūnaha Matatini was to give the government visibility over its policy choices.

“This is not meant to be a forecast. We don’t think these measures would actually be used. Instead we’d be forced to go back to using lockdowns. That was the point of the modelling, to show how those trade-offs play off with vaccination rates and at what point you can get away from using lockdowns.”

He said the modelling includes worst-case scenarios which are highly unlikely.  

“I don’t think any western government would really let that happen.”

Some of the modelling shows that if vaccination was only 70 percent for 12 years and older, with basic public health measures, NZ could see more than 1 million cases, more than 90,000 hospitalisations, and about 12,000 deaths.