19 Oct 2021

Covid-19: Epidemiologist concerned traffic light system would be too rigid

From Morning Report, 7:17 am on 19 October 2021

An expert says he's concerned a traffic light system for the future management of Covid-19 could be too rigid.

Epidemiologist Rod Jackson told Morning Report he has concerns whether it will be a nimble enough system.

"My response to a traffic light is that Covid doesn't follow the road rules," he said.

"I believe if we look at what's happening around the world, particularly in places like Singapore, next year is going to be messy, whatever happens, and we're going to have to be nimble.

"We're going to have to be able to be flexible, we're going to have to be able to stop and start."

Professor Jackson said at the moment vaccination remains the only game in town, and there's two groups who are currently unvaccinated.

"There are those who just haven't got around to it yet, and we need to go hard on them with no jab, no job, no fun... and the second group are those people who don't trust the system.

"For those we have to find the people they trust, it may be gangs, it will be Maori leaders, Pacific leaders, GPs."

He added everything needs to be thrown at the unvaccinated to encourage them, because if the vaccine doesn't find them Covid-19 will.

"Do we buy them off? Yeah, it's worth it. Do we punish? Do we have no jab, no job, no fun mandates? Absolutely. Do we send gangs out to their communities and fund them to do it? Absolutely. We need to do absolutely everything to protect our businesses.

"At the very beginning of this vaccine rollout period, I mean about a month ago I had a one liner: 'Hate lockdowns? Get a jab. Really hate lockdowns? Get two'. I'm changing that now to: 'Hate lockdowns? Get a mate jabbed. Really hate lockdowns? Get two mates jabbed'."