Shot in the arm for global vaccine development

Research, Science and Innovation
  • Government invests in vaccine development to prevent future pandemics, save lives, and prevent economic damage

The Government is working to save lives and protect the economy from future pandemics by confirming New Zealand’s continued participation in an international coalition for vaccine research, announced Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and RSI Associate Minister and Associate Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall today.

“We are protecting New Zealanders as the Covid-19 pandemic continues by pledging $10 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) over five years, to support its continued work to develop COVID-19 vaccines and to prepare for future pandemics,” says Megan Woods.

“This renewed support will ensure our membership for the next five years. CEPI plays a critical role in supporting the global scientific community and it was a major contributor to the development of most of the vaccines available for COVID-19 today. New Zealand’s membership of CEPI, and the participation of our researchers and innovators in its networks significantly improves our ability to respond to this, and any future pandemic,” Megan Woods said.

“Vaccines are the best tool to save lives and minimise the social, economic and cultural harms of this and future pandemics”, says Ayesha Verrall. “Widespread vaccination also reduces opportunities for new, more dangerous variants to arise, which would affect the most vulnerable in our communities. Through international collaboration, vaccines and innovations in vaccine technology and manufacturing can happen faster and more reliably.

“CEPI has a vital role through the COVAX partnership in ensuring the international community has equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and other essential research and innovation. Supporting CEPI’s five-year plan, alongside our international partners, strengthens the global system for pandemic preparedness and response. New Zealand also provides active support to COVAX itself, contributing more than $26 million to date,” Ayesha Verrall said.

CEPI’s five-year plan includes:

  • being able to develop vaccines for any future pandemic within 100 days of the viral sequence being identified,
  • developing pan-coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics that would apply across COVID-19 variants and other coronaviruses, and
  • establish networks of global vaccine scientific and manufacturing capacity that can be rapidly utilised in any future pandemic.

Associate Minister Ayesha Verrall announced New Zealand’s pledge at the CEPI replenishment summit.