Why COVID-19 vaccines are important
A critical element of the world's response to COVID-19 will be globally available vaccines protecting people from the virus.
This will be the largest vaccination campaign in New Zealand's history, with a free vaccine available for everyone in Aotearoa.
By having the vaccine, you will be playing your part to protect our country. Getting vaccinated will save lives.
The aim of the strategy
The Government’s goal is to give New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines as early as possible.
This will help us to:
- control the virus in the long term
- protect our communities
- support our economic recovery
- re-open our borders.
This strategy outlines our approach. It makes sure the Government can:
- contribute to all aspects of global vaccine development, distribution and use
- invest in research that supports global efforts, builds relationships and helps New Zealand get access to a vaccine
- develop the ability to manufacture a vaccine, in case we need to
- make sure the way we regulate the vaccines, support research and enable manufacturing is fit for purpose
- use purchase agreements to secure supplies of vaccines.
Who's supporting the Government to make decisions
The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy Taskforce was set up to oversee how the vaccine strategy is implemented. It was made up of:
- the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- the Ministry of Health
- the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe)
- the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
It was supported with independent expert advice by the Science and Technical Advisory Group (STAG), which included representatives from across the science and research community.
How access to COVID-19 vaccines is being funded
The Government has set aside just under $NZ 1 billion ($NZ 983.7 million) to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines. This is from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Vaccines we have agreed to purchase
We have signed advance purchase agreements with 4 pharmaceutical companies that are developing COVID-19 vaccines:
- Pfizer and BioNTech
- Janssen Pharmaceutica
- University of Oxford and AstraZeneca
The Government has invested $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the COVAX Facility. This is a global collaboration for speeding up the development, manufacture and fair distribution of new vaccines.
As part of this agreement, we will have the option to purchase successful COVID-19 vaccines for up to 50% of New Zealand’s population and up to 50% of the populations of the Realm countries (Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue).
Medical supplies and infrastructure
The Government has also set aside funds for medical supplies and infrastructure – including personal protective equipment (PPE), needles, syringes and swabs. This is to make sure New Zealand and the Realm countries are ready to launch a vaccination programme as soon as a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available.