New Zealand’s handling of the pandemic has been commendable. At present, the Island nation reports no known community cases. Now, the country has also secured enough vaccine of all its citizens as well as for citizens of neighbouring Pacific island states.
The purchase was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. The initiative comes at a time when rich nations are hoarding up vaccines while the poor countries are left to suffer.
With the population of 5 million, the country has signed up for 7.6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 10.72 million doses of a vaccine from Novovax.
All the citizens would be vaccinated for free. The remaining doses would be distributed in the states within the New Zealand Realm—Tokelau, Niue, and the Cook Islands. New Zealand will also offer the vaccine to neighbouring states Tonga, Samoa, and Tuvalu.
“Pacific countries have worked hard to keep Covid-19 out, or to stamp it out, and New Zealand has been committed to supporting them in this. But their success has been hard-won. A safe and effective vaccine will be key to the region’s economic and social recovery”, Mahuta said in a statement.
“We now have agreements in place with four providers, covering three different types of vaccine technology and we have secured more than enough doses to cover our entire population plus the Pacific,” Jacinda Ardern said.