New Zealand joins global search for COVID-19 vaccine

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
  • Hon Dr David Clark
Foreign Affairs Health Research, Science and Innovation

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts and explore the potential of vaccine manufacturing capability in New Zealand.

The COVID-19 vaccine strategy aims to secure a vaccine – 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 COVID-19 vaccine strategy outlines how New Zealand will contribute to global efforts by ramping up our own capability, working with the international community and supporting our Pacific neighbours in the deployment of a vaccine once it becomes available,” Winston Peters said.

“New Zealand has quality researchers and a high performing research, science and innovation sector with a long history of working with colleagues across the globe to tackle complex global problems. It’s vital that we contribute to international research efforts as well as ramp up our own research and manufacturing capability,” Megan Woods said.

“The development of a safe and effective vaccine is a crucial tool in the control of COVID-19 world-wide and a global effort is well underway to develop and test various vaccine candidates,” David Clark said.

The COVID-19 vaccine strategy will ensure that all stops are pulled out in New Zealand to advance discovery, development, testing and supply of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Government has allocated $37 million to the COVID-19 vaccine strategy.  

Domestically, $10 million will be used to support research in New Zealand, and $5 million has been set aside to support potential manufacturing capability.

Up to $15 million is earmarked for international research collaboration including those managed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). A further $7 million in official development assistance will go to the vaccine alliance, Gavi, which distributes vaccines to developing countries.

New Zealand will also advocate internationally for the equitable distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, with a particular focus on ensuring our Pacific Island partners can access it when needed.

A task force has been set up to oversee implementation of the strategy. It is made up of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Health and its regulatory and purchasing agencies Medsafe and Pharmac, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Independent science and technical advisors will also support the task force with expert advice.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccine strategy can be found on the MBIE website.