New Zealand announced Thursday that the country had received two more COVID-19 vaccines, which are now enough to serve the country’s 5.36 million residents.
In a statement, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her government would buy COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, which means that every New Zealander will be vaccinated.
“We have now entered into agreements with four vendors covering three different types of vaccine technologies, and we have received more than enough doses to cover our entire population and the Pacific,” announced Jacinda Ardern.
The new agreements ensure access to 7.6 million cans from AstraZeneca – enough for 3.8 million people and 10.72 million cans from Novavax – enough for 5.36 million people. Two doses must be given for both vaccines.
“There are several types of vaccine technologies that have been used to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Our strategy has been to acquire different types of technology to ensure that some are not successful in development or in trials with alternatives available have, “said Ardern.
She noted that this will be New Zealand’s largest vaccination rollout ever made available for free.
According to the Prime Minister, the first phase, which is expected to start in the second quarter of 2021, will vaccinate frontier workers and key employees.
After the frontier workers and essential personnel, the general public will receive vaccines, which is expected in the second half of the year.
“We’re moving as fast as we can, but we also want to make sure the vaccine is safe for New Zealanders,” said the Prime Minister.
However, she did not explain how much budget was allocated to procure vaccines.
New Zealand is leading the global fight against COVID-19 without restricting normal business activity within the country as infections have recently been suppressed to very low numbers.
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 Zealand on February 28 this year.
According to the health ministry, the country’s last transmission case was reported on November 18.
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