'New Zealand will be at the front of the queue' - Chris Hipkins says nation 'well placed' for Covid-19 vaccine roll out

Source: 1News

New Zealand's will be at the "front of the queue" when Covid-19 vaccines come to market, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

This morning, US company Moderna announced its Covid-19 vaccine was proving to be highly effective in a major trial.

The company said its vaccine appears to be 94.5 per cent effective , according to preliminary data from an ongoing study.

It comes a week after competitor Pfizer Inc. announced its own Covid-19 vaccine appeared similarly effective .

New Zealand will have access to 1.5 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, should it all go to plan. That would be enough for 750,000 people to receive it. 

Hipkins told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning New Zealand was "very well placed" to get its hands on successful vaccines for the virus, which has so far killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide.

"Without going into detail I think we're in a very good place to ensure that as vaccines start to come to market New Zealand will be at the front of the queue to be getting vaccines," he said.

Hipkins said the Government had a good portfiolio of options it was looking at.

"There's about 230 vaccine potential candidates at the moment that we're looking at and working with the companies that are involved in those, so we're looking at a portfolio of investments in vaccines here.

"There's not just going to be one vaccine that New Zealand looks to purchase. We'll be looking to purchase a multitude of different vaccines."

In the meantime, Hipkins said the Government was working on making sure New Zealand has got the technology available to store, transport and distribute the different vaccinations to the community.

The Pfizer jab needs to be stored and transported at much cooler temperatures that the Moderna option, so he said experts were working through the logistics.

"Then of course we're going to have a vaccination campaign ready to make sure that we can get them into people at such time as they're ready and available.

"We're doing a lot to prepare and obviously there's a lot of commercial negotiation going on, and I'm not in a position to share all the details of that, with a variety of different companies."

Watch Chris Hipkins' full interview on Breakfast below.