The New Covid Protection Framework: Initial Thoughts

The Prime Minister outlined the new Covid Protection Framework this morning.

Here are some of the key points from a psychological point of view

Outlining the new structure and how it will work will be helpful for most people. And it clear that the goal is to carry on vaccinating at speed and scale to ensure that people are protected as much as possible before Covid reaches all parts of our communities.

In order to gradually and carefully open up, the Government has set high but realistic vaccination rate targets of 90% double vaccinated in each DHB before the new Framework takes effect. The goal is to minimise the spread and impact of covid while offering broad protection. The approach is formally shifting from elimination to containment, control, and, where appropriate, stamping out clusters of infection.

Vaccine certificates will be critical for accessing services under a new system.

Highly targeted and localised lockdowns will be used if needed. The Government hopes that this new framework helps us to move forward, safely – but acknowledges there will be more cases in the community that we have experienced before. This framework is about reducing impact.

The Government approach here is to incentivise behaviour change in access to goods and services, other than those that are strictly necessary, eg food, and health services. Behaviour change and maintenance now then being approached from several different angles, with multiple nudges and policy settings to shape experience of life if people choose to remain unvaccinated. Life will be more open for those who are vaccinated, more limited for those who choose not to be.

It’s an explicit statement of intent

And a framework to help shift individual behaviour for the collective good, sharing responsibility, but also offering protection for those who are more vulnerable. However, we need to take care to understand how particularly vulnerable communities will be protected with general DHB targets to ensure that they are not left unprotected, while striking the balance in opening life experiences up again for those who are fully vaccinated.

There are still some questions about how the most vulnerable will continue to be protected, but this framework looks like it offers hope for progress towards a more engaged life again soon, with our life goals and each other. 

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