New Zealand purchases enough COVID-19 vaccines for whole country: PM

Monday, 2021-03-08 12:01:41
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A border worker receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Auckland, New Zealand, Feb. 20, 2021. (File Photo: Xinhua)
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The government has guaranteed that every New Zealander will have access to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after securing an additional 8.5 million doses, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

"The government has signed an advance purchase agreement for 8.5 million additional doses, enough to vaccinate 4.25 million people. The vaccines are expected to arrive in New Zealand during the second half of the year," Ardern told a press conference.

"This brings our total Pfizer order to 10 million doses or enough for 5 million people to get the two shots needed to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19," she said.

The government's original agreement with Pfizer was for approximately 1.5 million doses, enough to vaccinate 750,000 people.

"It also means all New Zealanders will have the chance to access the same vaccine, Ardern said.

"With every person who gets vaccinated, New Zealand gets one step closer to moving away from restrictions to manage COVID-19," the prime minster said, adding options are being worked for donating surplus doses to the Pacific and developing countries worldwide.

"We are committed to ensuring that any doses not needed here are put to good use elsewhere," she said.