Right!

We’ve been told the Government’s plan is to get 90% of the eligible population vaccinated and we can move into their ‘world-leading’ traffic light system.

Okay.

I have a question though – is that 90% of the eligible population today, tomorrow, next week, next month …?

I ask because as a business owner I am sick and tired of the moving goal posts this Government keeps changing.

This lack of certainty plays havoc with business – mine and the other approx. 500,000 others in New Zealand.

I ask because I know (from overseas) things will change (things that are foreseeable – but what do I know right? I’m not an expert the Government keeps saying they rely on). For example …

  • Children aged 5 to 11 have now been approved for vaccination in NZ. That will increase the number of eligible people to be vaccinated by approx. 476,000 and at the same time drop the percentage of vaccinated eligible people.
  • I know the effectiveness of the vaccine declines with time (although there is plenty of argument about how long) so boosters are now being rolled out overseas to keep everyone’s immunity up. And once boosters become relevant, Governments overseas change the definition of vaccinated to exclude anyone who hasn’t had the necessary number of jabs (including boosters) – i.e. if you have had two jabs five months ago and are currently defined as fully vaccinated today, in another month or two (assuming boosters are now required) you may find yourself defined as unvaccinated again until you get your booster and have passed the required two weeks post-booster period.

In each case, the number of vaccinated changes (goes down with people not boosted) … and the number of eligible vaccinated goes up (by children). Either way, the percentage of eligible vaccinated people drops and gets further away from the 90% target currently being dangled in front of everyone.

If we restate the vaccination figures today to ignore those who were vaccinated more than six months ago, then the percentage of vaccinated people drops from 72% to 70%. Not a huge drop at the moment, but that will drop faster as we get closer to Christmas and more so into 2022. If people don’t get their booster shots as fast as when they got vaccinated, then the booster requirement will erode whatever vaccination percentage we might achieve. Unfortunately, the reality will be a drop off of boosters compared to original vaccinations as people get tired/bored/annoyed with the changing goalposts and continual excuses of Government why freedoms aren’t being returned.

If we look at the five to eleven-year-olds, the percentage of eligible vaccinated drops from 72% to 65%. That pushes us further back delaying the time to reach that 90% target and getting some freedoms back.

Combine the boosters effect with adding children, and the eligible vaccination rate drops from 72% to 63%.

One step forward … two steps back!! That 90% target is starting to look much harder to realistically achieve.

To be fair, this assumes our Government will add 5 to 11 year olds into the mix … AND/OR … will mandate booster shots to previously vaccinated people in an effort to stop vaccinated people ending up in hospital … BEFORE we get to the targeted 90% and changing to their’ world leading’ traffic light system.

It is possible our Government may do neither.

But I don’t make my decisions about what I do based on possibilities. I make my decisions based on how probable any possibility is or not.

Based on other countries, I believe it is more probable than not we will see children aged 5 to 11 added to the eligible vaccination group. I also believe it is more probable we will see the change in definition of vaccinated and unvaccinated to account for people who have (or have not) received their required booster jabs within the required time periods.

Also, the Government doesn’t have the best track record in terms of keeping their word. Two months ago they were saying absolutely no to vaccine certificates. And here we are today waiting for the release of the new vaccine passport system they are creating. So I have little reason to believe they won’t follow other countries like USA and Australia and vaccinate children, and require continual boosters … if you want your freedoms back.

If I’m right, I believe the 90% vaccination rate of the eligible population will be impossible (and for me as infinite possibilities, I don’t say this lightly) … unless they go door to door and forcibly jab us (which I suspect is a bridge to far – at least I hope that’s the case).

And don’t forget this ignores the other elephant in the room … new mutations of Covid. If you believe the Government and its Press, Delta is the ‘game changer’ at the moment. What about Delta plus? What about lambda? What about [insert next mutation variant here]? There are going to be ongoing mutations (the reasons why might surprise you) and my guess is each mutation will be ramped up somehow to validate ongoing vaccinations to ‘save us’. The result will most likely be quicker boosters … maybe more enforced vaccinations … who knows anymore? Our Government doesn’t appear to have many limits to what it wants to do … as long as they have their experts and scientists behind them to justify whatever they decide.

Okay … so where does that leave us as business owners (and employees this is relevant to you too because without a business employing you, you won’t have a job).

I think it leaves us in the position where we need to stop focusing on the carrots the Government keeps dangling in front of us and reacting to that.

Our current situation is:

  • We’re in level 3 lockdown in Auckland and Waikato.
  • Our Government will ease this when and if we reach 90% vaccination status.
  • We don’t know when or if we will ever reach the magic 90% vaccination status.
  • We don’t know that even if we get to 90% the Government won’t move the goalposts further out.

I refuse to make choices based on ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’. If being in business the last 13 years has taught me anything, it’s to make the best decision you can based on ‘NOW’. Trying to take account of a possible future, and in this case even worse, a future our Government controls and can change as it sees fit with little or no consultation with us as business owners is a fool’s game.

The only thing I know with any certainty about my future is:

  • I don’t know what the future will look like. There are too many moving parts still right now.
  • Whether I like the new future coming or not is irrelevant. It’s beyond my control and I just have to choose how I live in whatever future arrives … when it arrives.
  • There is no going back to the way we used to do business and how we used to live. Too much has changed now … rightly or wrongly. So whatever plans I make can’t be based around trying to survive long enough to get back to normal (that’s a bit like playing to not lose, as opposed to playing to win).
  • How I will live in whatever future world unfolds. It will be the same as how I want to live in the world today – with values that appreciate all of us regardless of sex, age, race, job, religion, and vaccination status. In other words … people first ALWAYS (regardless of whatever my Government tries to tell me).

And this leads to what I think is the inevitable conclusion:

  • We cannot control what our Government is doing – they have a plan and they’re not stopping for anyone regardless of the consequences of their actions (and I believe the consequences are not going to be good for the majority of us). I trust they will be held accountable for their actions in the future one day (I just hope I’m still around to see that day).
  • We must focus on what we can control – that is our daily lives and our business. We’re better off investing our time, money and energy into what we can control, knowing what we know, to get what we want.
  • We have to learn to live with Covid – the quicker we can do that that the better. We don’t have to wait for the Government to tell us how to do that. We can start making decisions in our businesses that cater for a new Covid-world and get in front of our Government (while making sure we’re not bending any Government rules enough to get into trouble).
  • If you haven’t already had Covid, get prepared for cacthing it – I believe Covid is now in the community and the Government will not win its whack a mole game with Delta. Covid has proven itself smarter than our Government. The good news is the majority of people will be fine (despite what the Government and its Press have been scaring us with). The bad news is some people will die and our health sector will creak and possibly break. You cannot rely on your Government and its unprepared health sector to help in that situation. There are sources of information outside the Government mandated “one source of truth” that will help you improve your chances with Covid. Learn from them and plan at home and in your business accordingly.
  • If you haven’t altered your business to at least exist at breakeven in Lockdown level 3, you need to start making that reality today. You don’t know how long we’ll be in Level 3 lockdown (my guess based on what happened in Australia and various states in USA, we’re just getting started – I hope I’m wrong but I fear I’m right).
  • Some businesses may be able to make a profit still at Level 3 … and I would suggest you should do exactly that and hold onto some of those profits for future changes you’ll want to make as we come out of Covid however many months down the road that is.
  • Focus on building community with the people in your life – while our Government seems okay segregating people into vaccinated and unvaccinated, I’m not. You don’t need to either. EVERYTHING is changing at the moment and changing fast. With so much change comes so much uncertainty and so much uncertainty feeds so much anxiety, stress and fear. History teaches us that in times of such immense change and stress, it is the people who build community and work together that get through best.

I believe the 90% target is a diversion tactic. It something to aim for to give you hope. I’m suggesting you don’t rely on Government for your hope. Make your own hope instead. Start working through how you are going to live with Covid at home and at work and just get on with it. Vaccinate or not. Isolate or not. Mask or not. The choices are all yours.

Whatever you do, I only ask one thing.

Please don’t agree to the division our Government and Press are enabling. This isn’t about the vaccinated or unvaccinated. It never was. Its about the virus and how we all live together with that virus – vaccinated and unvaccinated. If we can’t live together with the virus, “the team of five million” is dead. “They are us” is dead too. I don’t know about you, but the NZ I lived in would never let that happen – covid or not! We would pull out that number eight wire and find a way for all of us to live together with covid … vaccinated or not. Something our Government seems incapable, and/or maybe unwilling, to do.

Good luck!

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