New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today.
The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It vaccinates millions of children worldwide for a range of diseases.
“If and when a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine is developed, global demand will initially outstrip supply,” said Mr Peters.
“It is vitally important that we are part of any global initiative to pool purchasing power and share the risk involved in investing in vaccines at this early stage, to ensure we don’t miss out.”
The details of the COVAX Facility, including financial contributions, are still being determined. By joining the Facility now, New Zealand will be able to help shape the way it works and how a vaccine is eventually distributed.
The COVAX Facility incentivises pharmaceutical companies to produce more of any vaccine. It also allows countries to share risk with other participating countries by co-investing in a range of vaccine candidates.
“This is crucial because while there are several vaccines under development, the chance of success for any individual candidate is low. This way we can spread the risk, and keep our options open,” Mr Peters said.
Contact: Zach Vickery, 021 867 951, Zach.Vickery@parliament.govt.nz