How COVID-19 vaccines are developed and approved

COVID-19 vaccines used in New Zealand must meet international standards and local requirements for quality, safety and efficacy.

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 didn’t 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 clinical trials and testing — Ministry of Health (external link)

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’s been formally approved after a thorough assessment, but Pfizer must give Medsafe ongoing data and reporting to show that it meets international standards.

Assessing and approving the vaccines — Ministry of Health (external link)

Medsafe has given provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 years. Cabinet still needs to approve a ‘decision to use’ – their decision is expected by the end of June. Until then people aged 12 to 15 cannot receive the Pfizer vaccine. It will not be mandatory for young people to get vaccinated.

How vaccine safety is monitored

Medsafe will continue to monitor the safety and efficacy of the vaccine as it’s 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.

Vaccine safety monitoring process — Medsafe (external link)

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