COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy

The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy sets out the Government's mission to ensure that New Zealand has access to safe and effective vaccines as early as possible.

The strategy aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines – safe, effective and in sufficient quantities – at the earliest possible time. It will ensure New Zealand has detailed knowledge of key international research efforts and an ability to assess promising vaccine candidates as they emerge.

The strategy has several strands. It ensures that we are:

  • Connecting globally to contribute to all aspects of vaccine development, distribution and use
  • Investing in research that contributes to global efforts, builds relationships and supports early access to a vaccine
  • Developing the ability to manufacture in case it is needed to secure supply
  • Optimising regulatory approaches to ensure safety, support research and enable manufacturing
  • Using purchasing arrangements to secure supply where possible.

A domestic and international response

In May this year, the Government made an initial allocation of $37 million to the COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which has been allocated as follows:

  • $15 million for international research collaboration:
  • $10 million to support research in New Zealand and contribute to global efforts:
    • Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo is leading COVID-19 vaccine research in New Zealand, working with local and international scientists to support the development of potential vaccine candidates.
  • $5 million has been allocated to support manufacturing capability in New Zealand:
    • BioCell has received $3 million to upgrade their facilities to manufacture commercial quantities of COVID-19 vaccines, if and when New Zealand obtains the rights to manufacture a successful COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
    • This would potentially meet New Zealand’s needs for the manufactured vaccine, and also make a valuable contribution to global supply.
  • $7 million in official development assistance will go to the vaccine alliance, Gavi(external link), which distributes vaccines to developing countries.

Additional funding to progress the COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy

Additional funding has also been allocated from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

  • This funding will allow New Zealand to participate in global initiatives such as COVAX Facility, in which we have already expressed our interest.
  • It will also enable the Vaccine Strategy Task Force to secure access to promising vaccine candidates by investing early in the process, using tools like advance purchasing arrangements.

The Task Force is engaging with pharmaceutical suppliers and is actively tracking promising vaccine candidates to determine which ones may be suitable for New Zealand and the Pacific.

New Zealand will continue to advocate internationally for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, with a particular focus on ensuring our Pacific Island neighbours can access vaccines when needed.

Vaccine Strategy Task Force

The Vaccine Strategy Task Force consists of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Health and its regulatory agency Medsafe, PHARMAC, Treasury and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Independent science and technical advisors also support the Task Force with expert advice.

Press release announcing the Vaccine Strategy on the Beehive website(external link)

Press release announcing additional funding for the Vaccine Strategy on the Beehive website(external link)

Last updated: 27 August 2020