Coronavirus: New Zealand signs agreement for Covid-19 vaccine for half of population
21 September, 2020
New Zealand has signed a $27 million agreement to guarantee Covid-19 vaccines for half the population, if an international effort to create a vaccine succeeds.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, while announcing the country would climb down Covid-19 alert levels in the coming week, said Cabinet had agreed to signing a legally binding agreement to buy any vaccine to emerge from the COVAX facility.
“This is one of a number of key steps we’ll be taking to ensure New Zealanders have access to a safe and secure Covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available,” Ardern said.
New Zealand said it would join the COVAX facility in July. The global facility is run by Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, a public-private organisation made up of members including the World Health Organisation, Unicef, and the World Bank among others.
“The COVAX facility ensures that Covid-19 vaccines are equitably distributed to every participating country, worldwide … This investment will give us the option to purchase from a diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates should one be successful,” Ardern said.
Ardern said Cabinet had set aside “hundreds of millions of dollars” to enter such arrangements, and there would likely be other advanced purchase agreements signed.
“I’m often asked: ‘What will make a difference to our border settings?’ … One of the major factors will be a vaccine.”