How COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly and safely
Creating the COVID-19 vaccines took a global effort, but the world united to take on the challenge. And we did not start from scratch — researchers were able to use their knowledge of other coronaviruses and vaccine development.
The vaccines have been developed very quickly but without taking any shortcuts in the necessary processes or compromising safety.
Vaccine assessment and approval in New Zealand
Medsafe is New Zealand’s medicines safety authority. It evaluates applications for all new medicines, including vaccines, to make sure they meet international standards and local requirements.
Medsafe will only recommend a medicine is approved for use in New Zealand if it meets these standards.
The Pfizer vaccine has been provisionally approved (with conditions) for use in New Zealand.
This means it is been formally approved after a thorough assessment, but Pfizer must give Medsafe ongoing data and reporting to show that it meets international standards.
How vaccine safety is monitored
Medsafe will continue to monitor the safety and efficacy of the vaccine as it is used. It will assess ongoing data and reporting, such as large clinical trials across the world and reporting by healthcare professionals and people who have received the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine is highly effective if people have both doses
Studies show that about 95% of people who have received both doses of the vaccine are protected against getting COVID-19 symptoms.
This means that once you are fully vaccinated, you are far less likely to fall seriously ill and less likely to transmit the virus to others.
Being fully vaccinated gives you a high degree of protection against Delta infection, and an even higher degree of protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death.
Evidence currently shows the effectiveness of 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine against illness due to Delta infection is about 88%, and the protection against hospitalisation due to Delta infection about 96%.