The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million Covid-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people.
The deal will allow the purchase of vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins said.
"Our first vaccine purchase agreement has been signed and it brings to fruition some of the critical work going on behind the scenes to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid-19," Woods said.
"As part of the agreement, vaccine delivery to New Zealand could be as early as the first quarter of 2021. This is just the first tranche of work in a multi-pronged approach to ensuring we secure vaccines for New Zealanders.
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Woods said: "Pfizer have said they are making good progress with the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Subject to clinical and regulatory success, and provided the vaccine is approved for use here in New Zealand by Medsafe, it is possible that some doses will be available to us in the first part of 2021."
The Government signed a $27 million agreement with Covax Facility last month which will allow New Zealand to buy a successful vaccine from a range of candidates.
Decisions on who would receive access to the first available vaccines have yet to be made, the Government says.
"Work at the Ministry of Health is currently underway to determine what an Immunisation Programme roll-out might look like. A number of factors will influence who will receive what vaccines and when, such as trial data on the suitability of each vaccine for certain age groups," Hipkins said.
"We have set aside $66.3 million for medical supplies and infrastructure to ensure New Zealand is ready to launch a Covid-19 Immunisation Programme as soon as we have a safe and effective vaccine.
"Most of this investment will pay for sufficient supplies to support New Zealand and Pacific Realm countries; supplies such as PPE, needles, syringes and swabs, and freezers to store a vaccine," Hipkins said.