New Zealand on Thursday announced that the country has secured two more COVID-19 vaccines which are now enough for the 5.36 million population of the country.
In a statement, the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government will purchase COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, meaning every New Zealander will be vaccinated.
“We now have agreements in place with four providers, covering three different types of vaccine technology and we have secured more than enough doses to cover our entire population plus the Pacific,” Jacinda Ardern announced.
The new agreements secure access to 7.6 million doses from AstraZeneca – enough for 3.8 million people, and 10.72 million doses from Novavax– enough for 5.36 million people. Both vaccines require two doses to be administered.
"There are multiple types of vaccine technology that have been used to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Our strategy has been to purchase different types of technology, to ensure if some are found in development or in trials not to be a successful option, we will have alternatives available," Ardern said.
She noted that this will be New Zealand's largest immunization rollout ever which will be provided free-of-cost.
According to the premier, in the first phase, which is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2021, border workers and essential staff will be vaccinated.
Following the border workers and essential staff, the general public will get vaccines, which is expected in the second half of the year.
“We are moving as fast as we can, but we also want to ensure the vaccine is safe for New Zealanders," the premier said.
However, she did not explain how much budget has been allocated for the procurement of vaccines.
New Zealand is leading the global fight against COVID-19 with no restriction on normal business activity inside the country as the infections have been suppressed to very low numbers recently.
The island country has reported a total of 2,100 infections, including 25 deaths, since the first case of the disease was reported in New Zaealand on Feb. 28 this year.
The country’s last community transmission case was reported on Nov. 18, according to the Health Ministry data.
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