NZ to roll-out COVID-19 vaccine in mid-2021

December 18, 2020

New Zealand (NZ) will begin to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to all of the country’s 5 million people by the middle of next year. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that “NZ’s largest immunisation roll-out ever” is thanks to vaccines secured from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer-BioNTech (1.5 million doses, AstraZeneca (7.6 million doses) and Novavax (10.72 million doses). The vaccines require two doses to be administered.

Ardern said the government will vaccinate border staff and rescue workers from the second quarter of 2021, and the general public in the second half of next year.

“Never before has the entire globe sought to vaccinate the entire population at the same time. This will be a sustained roll out over months, not weeks, but our pre-purchase agreements means NZ is well positioned to get on with it as soon as it is proven safe to do so.”

The start of COVID-19 immunisations would not lead to any immediate changes to the country’s closed borders, said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins. Hipkins added that the health ministry has purchased nine large minus 80 degree Celsius freezers to store the vaccines, scheduled to arrive in NZ by the end of the year.

NZ is among a handful of countries that managed to contain COVID-19 within its borders. There have been 25 deaths and 1,744 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far.

Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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