How COVID-19 vaccines are being developed

There’s never been this level of global collaboration amongst scientists and governments in vaccine development.

Why COVID-19 vaccines were developed so quickly

There’s never been this level of global collaboration amongst scientists and governments in vaccine development.

This increased collaboration among scientists and governments has helped speed up vaccine development and clinical trials. 

Vaccine companies have been sharing their data all over the world, which has also led to a number of innovations, such as the use of the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

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Dr Ashley Bloomfield on the safety standards of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

How COVID-19 vaccines are being tested and assessed

In New Zealand, applications for all new medicines (including vaccines) are assessed by the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe).

Medsafe is responsible for regulating all medicines and medical devices in New Zealand. They are part of the Ministry of Health.

So COVID-19 vaccines can be made available as early as possible, Medsafe is streamlining its processes and assessing these vaccine applications ahead of normal applications.

Medsafe is:

  • in regular contact with pharmaceutical companies to prepare for applications
  • supporting pharmaceutical companies to apply in a consistent way
  • allowing 'rolling' applications – which means companies can submit sections as they are ready, rather than waiting until the whole application is complete
  • considering the assessment of an application from suitable overseas reports, if they are available.

Learn more about vaccine research and development (external link)

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