Today it was confirmed that $75 million of Official Development Assistance had been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out.
Pacific countries have worked hard to keep COVID-19 out, or to stamp it out, and New Zealand has been committed to supporting them in this. But their success has been hard-won. A safe and effective vaccine will be key to the region’s economic and social recovery.
New Zealand is pursuing a portfolio of potential COVID-19 vaccines to ensure there is flexibility and choice in the fast-moving global marketplace. This will ensure Pacific countries can also access suitable options, and have the support they need to run successful immunisation campaigns.
The support will be flexible, given the uncertainties around vaccine development.
New Zealand’s approach will be to purchase sufficient vaccines to cover the Realm of New Zealand (Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands) and our Polynesian neighbours (Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu) should their governments wish to take these up.
New Zealand is best placed to support these countries directly because of our constitutional relationships in the Realm, and the strong links between our health systems and our close people-to-people ties across Polynesia. New Zealand will also be scaling up existing health investments to play our part in vaccine roll-out.
Included in the $75m support package, New Zealand plans to make a further $10m contribution to the COVAX Facility Advance Market Commitment, which is the key multilateral mechanism that has emerged to support equitable global access. New Zealand is also ready to contribute to wider Pacific regional initiatives as they take shape.