The Pfizer vaccine will be given to border workers from Saturday week, she told reporters today. With the acceleration of its administrative procedures, the government is considering starting vaccinations on Wednesday for around 20,000 doctors and nurses who have consented to receive the shots, the sources said.
A health ministry panel on Friday greenlit Pfizer Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine for use in Japan, with health minister Norihisa Tamura saying it could become the first to receive formal approval from the country as early as Sunday. The company said in early February it would meet its contractual commitments for the first quarter and pledged to send up to 75 million extra doses to the European Union in the spring.
She said the arrival of vaccines would be an "important milestone" in our fight against Covid-19.
So far, only Pfizer and AstraZeneca have submitted applications for approval.
"We have been working behind the scenes to secure the timely arrival of vaccines for our border workers and their families and it's great they will arrive well within our scheduled timeframes". The federal government invested more than $40 million last July to help ramp up production of syringes, and last month President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, which may provide assistance to the firm. "We appreciate the effort the company has gone to to deliver the first instalment earlier than originally anticipated".
New Zealand, Ardern said, will be responsible for much of the distribution of the vaccines in the Pacific Islands.
The number received next week would be in the low tens of thousands.
After seven weeks of lockdown in 2020, New Zealand emerged virus-free and was an early adopter of genomic sequencing.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the first batch would be enough to cover all border workers.
Ms Ardern said border restrictions could be eased if there was evidence that vaccines reduced transmission.
Today's press conference follows a Ministry of Health Covid-19 immunisation business engagement event in Auckland this morning.
Pfizer's two-shot vaccine is sold in vials containing six doses, but extracting the sixth dose requires a special syringe called a low-dead space syringe.
The returnee with Covid-19 died in Auckland's North Shore Hospital.
Health Minister Andrew Little and Housing Minister Megan Woods will also be at the media briefing.
"It's going to take all the year to vaccinate everyone", Ardern said.
But neither has put an exact date as to when the doses are expected to land.
But if someone did, Ardern said they would not be fired.
Ardern said that was still planned for the second half of this year.
One of the new cases is a contact of a previously recorded case.
After that rollout is complete, their family members will be offered the vaccination.