Aucklanders will be anxious to know that their freedom from lockdowns is dependent on the individual choices of 16,000 people shy of vaccination.

In the absence of any captured data on why these people in Auckland have still not chosen to get vaccinated, despite the government throwing everything toward them to address the possible issues of vaccine equity or vaccine confidence, it is fair to say that these people might have already made their personal choices to not get vaccinated.

Yet the government has chosen to hold the rest of vaccinated Aucklanders’ freedom ransom to the people, who might not be keen to get vaccinated anyway.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave these numbers in her much-hyped speech around the announcement of the new Covid framework this morning, stating that those many people have to get their first dose and then followed by the second dose after at least four weeks before the government would consider bringing Auckland out of this current phase of long and strenuous lockdown.

Announcing the new Covid-19 protection framework which will comprise of three settings – Green, Orange, and Red, Ardern said that for Auckland to move out of the current lockdown into the Red zone, all three DHBs will have to achieve 90 per cent vaccination.  These settings will come into play along with “vaccine certificates” – the other critical component of Covid-19 protection framework.

“To everyone in Auckland, our businesses, people on their own, families with young kids – everyone, I know this period has been so hard. But you are so close. Right now you are just 16,000 vaccines away from every DHB hitting the 90 percent target for first doses. When that turns into double doses, that’s when this new framework kicks in,” Ardern said.

The rest of the country, once every DHB hits 90 percent double vaccinations will move into the Orange zone.

Once into the new Covid-19 protection framework, vaccine certificates will come into play in a manner that at red, orange and green businesses will be able to continue to open and operate.

What does new Covid-19 protection framework look like?

At orange – everything remains open, but because of vaccine certificates, all of the gathering limits currently in place for events, gatherings or hospitality can lift.

Places that choose not to use vaccine certificates will either be closed or will have public health measures in place.

Green is when there is some COVID in the community but at low levels.

Fully vaccinated people can enjoy all events and hospitality and gatherings by showing a vaccine certificate. Where premises choose not to use vaccine certificates they will face restrictions on numbers and spacing similar to the current alert level framework.

Face masks will only be mandatory on flights but will be encouraged in indoor settings.

When will the country enter into this new framework?

The country will only enter into this new framework once all DHBs will be able to achieve 90 per cent vaccination target.

Explaining the rationale of making the decision based on DHBs’ vaccination rates, Ardern said, “The reason we have focused on each DHB, is because we need every region to be highly vaccinated. And by focusing on DHBs, we also make sure we get more equitable outcomes.”

What it means though that if the regions still struggling to get their vaccination rates high such as the Taranaki region will hold back the other regions or at least remain disconnected, thereby restricting any non-essential movement between the regions.

Next Cabinet meeting on 29th November to see if Auckland can move out of the current lockdown

There will not be any freedom for Aucklanders till at least 29 November when the cabinet will assess the progress of vaccination rates and decide about the eventual freedom of Auckland from the long lockdown.