Otago Daily Times

Deal part of ‘multiprong­ed’ vaccine strategy: Woods


WELLINGTON: The Government’s prepurchas­e deal for a Covid19 vaccine is a ‘‘welljudged commitment’’, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods says.

The Government announced on Monday it had reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for 1.5 million doses of a vaccine, for 750,000 people.

The deal — the first of its kind for the Government — is subject to the vaccine successful­ly completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals.

The agreement comes as part of the

Covid19 vaccine strategy, which also includes contributi­ons to the global Covax Facility that could provide up to 50% of New Zealand’s needs.

Dr Woods said the deal would ensure New Zealanders did not miss out on a possible vaccine.

‘‘The strategy . . . is that we have a multiprong­ed approach, that we don’t put all of our eggs in one basket, that we are doing advanced purchase agreements with a number of companies that are working on vaccines because noone is sure which one is going to come off.’’

She would not say how much the money the Government had handed over in the agreement as it was commercial­ly sensitive.

However, she said it had already signalled ‘‘hundred of millions of dollars’’ was required to secure vaccines.

Dr Woods said the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine was well advanced and about 28,000 people were involved in trials in 120 sites around the world.

The Ministry of Health was still working through how the immunisati­on strategy would work, she said. — RNZ

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