New Zealand has secured two additional COVID-19 vaccines from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and Novavax. This brings the total up to four vaccine providers.
The number of vaccine doses available to New Zealanders now far exceeds the population of five million people.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that New Zealand will offer surplus vaccines to neighboring nations.
New Zealand will also offer $65 million in aid to support Pacific countries in getting access to vaccines.
On Thursday, Jacinda Ardern announced that New Zealand had secured two additional COVID-19 vaccines. This means that the country now expects to have so many doses of the vaccine that it will be able to offer it to neighboring nations for free.
The Government signed deals with the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and Novavax to bring in an additional 18.3 million doses. Both of these vaccines require two doses, meaning that over nine million people will be able to be vaccinated.
Prior to these agreements, New Zealand had already secured 750,000 courses from Pfizer/BioNTech and 4 million courses from Janssen.
Given that New Zealand’s population stands at just five million people, the country expects to have almost triple the number of vaccines required.
In a press release, Ardern revealed that spare vaccines would go to neighboring countries. She said: “We now have agreements in place with four providers, covering three different types of vaccine technology and we have secured more than enough doses to cover our entire population plus the Pacific.”
Government officials announced that free doses will be provided to Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu, according to NPR.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has said that New Zealand is committing $65 million of development assistance money to support Pacific countries to “access safe and effective COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.”
An additional $10 million is going towards a global commitment to ensuring that lower-income countries get access to vaccines.
New Zealand has been praised for its response to coronavirus. The country reports only 2,110 cases and 25 deaths. On Thursday, there were 10 new cases reported. On Wednesday, there were zero.—AP