The Government's pre-purchase deal for a Covid-19 vaccine is a "well-judged commitment", Minister for Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods says.
The Government announced it has reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for 1.5 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine for 750,000 people.
The deal - which is the first of its kind for the Government - is subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals.
The agreement comes as part of the Covid-19 vaccine strategy, which also includes contributions to the global COVAX Facility that could provide up to 50 per cent of New Zealand's needs.
Woods said the new deal will ensure New Zealanders don't miss out on a possible vaccine.
"The strategy ... is that we have a multi-pronged approach, that we don't put all of our eggs in one basket, that we are doing advanced purchase agreements with a number of companies that are working on vaccines because no one is sure which one is going to come off," she said.
Woods would not divulge how much money the Government has handed over in the agreement as it was commercially sensitive.
However, she said the government had already signalled "hundred of millions of dollars" was required for securing vaccines.
"This is not business as usual, there's not an off-the-shelf vaccine, fully clinically trialled vaccine," she said.
"We are doing advanced purchase agreements, we were upfront about that from the beginning so that we are well-placed and can receive the vaccines.
"The alternative is that we are left behind and that's not something we are willing to tolerate for New Zealand."
Woods said the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was well advanced, with around 28,000 people involved in trials in 120 sites around the world.
"Obviously we have a taskforce of experts, people that are following this closely, these are well judged commitments that we are making. This is a vaccine that's been developed by Pfizer, it's in stage three clinical trials ... we know the pathways that it's working on in the way it interacts with the virus.
"This is a very, very likely prospect."
Woods said the Government is committed to securing the vaccine for both New Zealand and its Pacific partners.
She added that the Ministry of Health is still working through how the immunisation strategy will work.