AstraZeneca arrives in New Zealand; second COVID-19 vaccine available this month

New Zealanders will soon be able to access a second type of COVID-19 vaccine, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins said.

A shipment of 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in New Zealand today from Australia.

“Enough for 50,000 people, these doses are for people who can’t have the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons, and for those who would like an option other than the Pfizer vaccine,” Chris Hipkins said.

“From 26 November, anyone aged 18 and older who wishes to have the AstraZeneca vaccine will be able to book an appointment on BookMyVaccine.nz or by calling Healthline. 

“DHBs are preparing to offer the AstraZeneca vaccine, including arranging for specific clinics to administer the vaccine, and making sure the workforce is trained to deliver it. 

“AstraZeneca will be available at a limited number of sites across the country as Pfizer is the main COVID-19 vaccine we are using in New Zealand.

“Officials have also been working closely with colleagues in Australia and with AstraZeneca to secure delivery of these doses from the manufacturer in Melbourne.

“We want to thank the Australian Government for their cooperation in providing timely access to these doses and AstraZeneca for their support of this arrangement.

“New Zealand has an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for 7.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The 100,000 doses which have arrived from Australia are part of this original purchase agreement. The COVID-19 Technical Advisory Group provided advice to Cabinet this week on the use of the vaccine in New Zealand. Cabinet has since granted a ‘decision to use’.

“Pfizer remains the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for use in New Zealand and we have enough vaccine supply for everyone to be vaccinated,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Looking at today’s case numbers, and the current geographical spread, I can’t stress enough how important it is that we have as many people as possible vaccinated.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves, our whānau and our communities against COVID-19.”