The Government has allocated significant extra funding, in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, to access a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
The specifics of the funding from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund cannot be disclosed due to commercial sensitivity as it could prevent the best possible deal for New Zealanders.
It is in addition to the $37 million vaccine strategy released in May to support domestic and international work.
“Since day dot of this global pandemic, the Government has gone hard and early in our plan to eliminate the virus and work in as many ways as possible to secure a vaccine as soon as it’s available,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“I’ve been talking to a range of world leaders about global vaccine development, including Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau and Scott Morrison. We are working particularly closely with Australia to ensure we are connected to all parts of vaccine development, distribution and use, as well as our Pacific neighbours to elevate their voices.
“In May we set out our vaccine strategy, which includes contributing to the global effort, actively working with our Australian neighbours, domestic research, and investing in our own manufacturing capability.
“As the World Health Organisation says, vaccine nationalism only helps the virus. Collaboration is our strength and when we find a vaccine, it must be available to everyone,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said the funding would enable the Government to secure access to promising vaccine candidates, alongside joining initiatives such as the global COVAX Facility.
“Our approach to obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine is different to how we’d usually operate, but these are extraordinary times that warrant new and innovative approaches being used. We need to act early to secure our ability to purchase promising vaccine candidates and are already in conversation with a number of vaccine providers.
“Governments around the world are using purchasing arrangements to secure supply, and this will be a key mechanism for helping New Zealand to gain access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“The Task Force is well-connected with our Australian neighbours, and we are actively working together to get access to a vaccine for our two countries and our Pacific neighbours.
“Global cooperation is crucial because as long as one country or community is at risk, we are all at risk,” Megan Woods said.
Kelly Spring +21 824 890 (Prime Minister)
Joy Gribben +64 21 842 874 (Minister Woods)