New Zealand wasn’t slow in ordering Covid-19 vaccines, says Pfizer boss

Source: 1News

New Zealand wasn’t slow to order its doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, says the pharmaceutical company’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand. 

Anne Harris said Pfizer would continue to meet its contractual obligations, as the severity of the pandemic continues to change for each country. 

She said the company was constantly in touch with countries about their fast-changing medical needs and vaccine strategies. 

“That’s how we are basing this [vaccine distribution]: On the need and what the specific requirements of that country and how they wish to engage with us.”

As soon as the vaccines were manufactured, they were sent from the factories straight away, she said. 

“This is pandemic supply … we aren’t holding inventory within Pfizer. We are providing it to the countries, because we recognise every country is in very different situations.

“We are responding to need and things are going to vary as we move forward through 2021.”

She said New Zealand’s vaccines would come from manufacturers in Europe and the US. Harris said this would ensure large quantities of the vaccine could be created quickly and be of a high quality. 

It comes as the European Union late last month threatened to restrict exports of vaccines, including Pfizer’s, outside of the bloc. It was later withdrawn. 

Pfizer was committed to meeting its COVAX promises as well, Harris added. The international scheme aimed to ensure global access to the vaccine was equitable, especially for middle- and low-income countries. 

In Covax's first interim distribution forecast , New Zealand could get 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine before July. But, the alliance said the forecast was non-binding and may change. 

The Government bought 1.5 million doses of Pfizer's double-dose Covid-19 vaccine, covering meaning 750,000 New Zealanders will get the vaccine. Five million courses from Janssen have also been ordered.

The Government also secured 10.7 million doses from Novavax, a US vaccine development company, which could vaccinate 5.6 million people. Another 7.6 million doses of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has also been secured, which could cover 3.8 million New Zealanders.