New Zealand to use only Pfizer virus vaccine

New Zealand to use only Pfizer virus vaccine

A box of Pfizer BioNTECH vaccine multi-dose vials stored in a fridge. File Picture: Larry Cummins

New Zealand says it will now use only the Pfizer vaccine to inoculate its population against coronavirus, departing from earlier plans to use four different vaccines.

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced the strategy on Monday, saying the decision was based on the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness.

She said this would make it easier and fairer for all New Zealanders to have access to the same vaccine.

(PA Graphics)

However, the strategy may also be driven in part by delays in getting vaccines approved.

So far, New Zealand’s medical regulators have approved only the Pfizer vaccine and are reviewing two other shots.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand has purchased 10 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, enough to inoculate all five  million residents with the required two doses each.

She said most of the doses are expected to arrive in New Zealand during the second half of this year.

New Zealand has so far completed inoculations of only a few thousand people, mainly border workers.

The country has stamped out community spread of the virus, and inoculations are not considered as urgent as in many other countries.

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