New Zealand to roll out Covid-19 vaccine for free

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Sarah Peddie

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that every New Zealander will get the Covid-19 vaccine free of charge, as will the Pacific Islands.

The country has ordered 15 million courses of Covid-19 vaccines from four different providers.

Last Thursday, the Prime Minister confirmed that the treatment would be free for everyone and that health workers and border officials would be prioritised. 

The vaccine will start to be rolled out in the second quarter of next year.

Ardern said this was New Zealand’s “largest-ever immunisation programme” and the country has already pre-ordered vaccines from four different providers. They have ordered 750,000 courses from Pfizer, 5 million from Janssen, 3.8 million from Oxford/AstraZeneca and 5.36 million from Novavax. 

Some of the vaccines will be sent to the Pacfic Islands - the New Zealand government has announced $75 million in funding to help Pacific countries vaccinate their population.

In a news conference she said: “It will ensure we have enough vaccines to cover the entire population of New Zealand and the Pacific should they want them. 

“We have secured sufficient vaccines to cover a round of Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands, and our Polynesian neighbours- Samoa, Tonga, Tabalu, should their governments wish to take them up.

“We are working very closely with Australia who are also looking to support vaccination across the wider Pacific.” 

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