COVID-19 vaccines

On 17 December 2020 the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand has secured enough COVID-19 vaccine for every New Zealander.

PHARMAC's role

PHARMAC is part of the all-of-government COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy.

As part of the Vaccine Strategy's Taskforce, we used our medicines and vaccines procurement and logistics experience to support the vaccines negotiation team.

The numbers you need to know

  • 4 different vaccines secured
  • 15 million vaccine courses pre-ordered to date
  • 750,000 courses from Pfizer/BioNTech
  • 5 million courses from Janssen
  • 3.8 million courses from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 5.36 million courses from Novavax.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy At A Glance

The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy

The COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy (the Strategy) seeks to ensure New Zealand’s access to safe and effective vaccines, in order to implement our preferred immunisation solution at the earliest possible time.

We’ve made good progress in achieving the Strategy to date:

  • We’ve negotiated four independent purchasing agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/BioNTech, Janssen, the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and Novavax.
  • We’ve also joined and supported the COVAX Facility, which seeks to distribute vaccines across the globe.
  • We’ve established the Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo to support connecting our scientific expertise to global research efforts.
  • We’ve invested in developing New Zealand’s capability to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, should it be necessary. 
Details below.
Our portfolio closely aligns with those of leading countries

Vaccine Purchasing

A key principle of the Strategy is to ensure timely access to vaccines as they are developed. To achieve this, we’ve been pursuing advance purchase agreements (APAs) while development is ongoing. This ensures no delay in supply to New Zealand.

A portfolio of several APAs increases the likelihood that we’ll have vaccines suitable for use in New Zealand. It means we’re not putting all of our eggs in the same basket.

All of our purchase decisions have been informed by independent scientific and commercial experts, including some of New Zealand’s top immunologists and clinicians on our Science and Clinical Review Panel.

The four candidates we’ve secured are:

  • 750,000 courses from Pfizer/BioNTech
  • 5 million courses from Janssen
  • 3.8 million courses from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca
  • 5.36 million courses from Novavax.

These purchases are complementary - they use different vaccine technologies and have different strengths and weaknesses. This ensures we have a good chance of accessing a useable vaccine even if others in the portfolio fail.

Based on the agreements we’ve negotiated, some vaccines may be delivered in Q1 2021. The majority of vaccines will be delivered to New Zealand within Q2 and Q3 2021.

While we’re confident our four agreements place us in a really good position, we’re not ruling out other purchases if required. We will continue to assess promising options for New Zealand as they arise.

Rolling out the vaccine

Never before has the entire globe sought to vaccinate the entire population at the same time. This will be a sustained roll out over months not weeks but our pre-purchase agreements mean New Zealand is well positioned to get on with it as soon as it is proven safe to do so.

The agreements ensure that we are invested in a range of options and that we’re not putting all of our eggs into one basket.

Download the Factsheet: Sequencing the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine - link)