It was a couple of Fridays ago — five days before the latest lockdown. I had a spare afternoon so I decided to get a haircut and a Covid jab. The haircut, at least, was straightforward.

Then I walked into the local medical centre. It was about 1:45pm and the place was deserted.

Eventually, the receptionist looked across her glasses at me. I asked about a Covid injection and she confirmed that the clinic was offering the vaccine.

Our conversation started something like this.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No, I don’t I’m sorry.”

“Well, you’ll need to go online and make an appointment.”

After a brief conversation it emerged that they had doctors on duty, vaccines in stock and plenty of spare appointments that afternoon. However, she insisted I book online and that I couldn’t book until Monday.

I walked out in some disbelief — no vaccination, despite various accounts of friends who had walked in off the street to medical centres and emerged 20 minutes later with shot number one in their arm. “It shouldn’t be this hard,” I thought.

We’ve since gone back into lockdown and it’s hard alright.

In fact, I can’t believe how unprepared we are.

Think about this for a moment. It’s 17 months since the severity of Covid first struck and our Government advised us to get home by midnight on March 15. It’s six months since our last real scare, the Papatoetoe High School infections in mid-February.

In those last six months the Government has repeatedly warned us that Covid’s return was inevitable. More recently, their dialogue has stated that the arrival of the more contagious Delta variant was only a matter of time.

Despite them telling us this, all those warnings have fallen on deaf ears. Theirs.

While businesses have provided even more staff with laptops, enhanced their backup systems and data capacity, renewed Zoom accounts and upgraded servers, it is the government response which seems to be disorganised and slow.

It’s bad enough that Delta arrived on these shores at a time when our vaccination rates were among the lowest in the developed world. It’s appalling that our frontline workers in hospitals, ports, supermarkets and police were largely unvaccinated.

This week the Prime Minister trumpeted that they have been in discussions with the supermarket industry for many weeks about having the grocery industry’s frontline workers vaccinated with some urgency. However, senior supermarket executives appear to be totally unaware of such discussions.

As the fearmongering press conferences began all over again, the people, predictably, went out to get tested. Good on them. But the testing centres weren’t ready. We had people queueing for up to 11 hours, waiting for a test that takes 30 seconds.

After more than a week of lockdown, there are still people sitting up to six hours and more. Waiting.

But the press conferences continue, featuring among other things, a celebration of good news from the Covid Minister last Sunday. He congratulated the country on achieving the milestone of 1 million people being fully vaccinated. A million people. Wow. That’s 19.6 per cent of the population. I think that means that 80 per cent aren’t vaccinated. When the developed world – Australia and Japan excepted – is at 50 per cent or more, that’s hardly reason for celebration.

If you listen closely, the 1pm briefings provide insight into how poor our preparation has been. This week we’ve heard that we’ve started to train medical and dental students to become testers. On Wednesday we were advised that we are training more than 300 contact tracers.

Why now? Why not six or nine or 12 months ago?