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We are working with a range of global coalitions and partners in the search for a vaccine, and advocating for it to be available to all countries once developed. Cooperation is crucial – as long as one country or community is at risk, we are all at risk. Positioning New Zealand to access a safe, effective vaccine also shores up our ability to support our Pacific neighbours’ timely and affordable access to it too.
Our COVID-19 vaccine strategy
Global connections and contributions will drive our vaccine research, manufacture, regulation and procurement. Our goal is to ensure we have flexibility and choice in the face of the likely global under-supply and competing vaccine options.
Watch the Prime Minister announcing some of our contributions to global efforts.
Read a Government press release on New Zealand’s international contributions and partnerships(external link).
Challenges of getting a vaccine
There are many uncertainties to navigate in the search for a vaccine.
It is unclear whether there will ever be a suitable safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, who will develop and own it, how much it will cost, and whether we will be able to obtain it. There are questions around how we might meet the requirements to manufacture, transport, store and distribute the various potential vaccine types.
Objectives of the vaccine strategy
The strategy must be flexible enough to handle all these uncertainties, as well as allow for changes in direction as international vaccine development progresses. It spreads the risk, keeps our options open, and weighs the benefit against the cost. It integrates and coordinates multiple approaches to make the best use of New Zealand’s own capacity and expertise, both within and outside of government.
The strategy, which is set out in this May 2020 Cabinet paper(external link), ensures New Zealand will have a role contributing to, shaping and influencing collective efforts.
Who’s involved in implementing the strategy
Key government agencies are coordinating to implement the strategy:
- Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is the lead agency, and responsible for science, research, and potential vaccine manufacturers(external link)
- Ministry of Health is responsible for managing COVID-19 in New Zealand and immunisation issues, and has oversight of Medsafe which is responsible for safety and ethics
- PHARMAC is responsible for establishing the best approach for purchasing and supply of vaccines and treatments(external link)
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade leads on engaging with international coalitions and agreements.