Pharmac is now responsible for the management of COVID-19 vaccines. This includes funding, procurement, and supply.
Get vaccinated or boosted
For the latest information on who can be vaccinated:
Management of COVID-19 vaccines transferred to Pharmac from Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) from 1 July 2023. Pharmac's budget has been adjusted to cover the COVID-19 vaccines. These were funded separately before.
Te Whatu Ora (Health New Zealand) remains responsible for the vaccination programme.
How many people have been vaccinated?
More than 12 million doses have been administered. For the latest information on how many people have been vaccinated:
Medsafe is the regulator
Medsafe makes sure medicines meet international and local standards for quality, safety, and efficacy. This includes the COVID-19 vaccine. Only if medicines meet these standards will Medsafe recommend them for use in New Zealand.
Medsafe also collects information on the safety of medicines used in New Zealand, including vaccines.
Purchasing COVID-19 vaccines – 2020
In 2020, the COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy Taskforce was established. In late 2020 / early 2021, agreements were reached with four vaccine suppliers, representing different vaccine technologies. This helped supply start in early 2021.
The agreements were with:
- University of Oxford/AstraZeneca
Te Manatū Hauora released a summary of these agreements, including the circumstance that they were negotiated in.
Pﬁzer/BioNTech and Novavax vaccines continue to be available in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Future Vaccine Purchasing
We are currently seeking funding applications for vaccines that provide protection against COVID-19. Applications close on 18 December 2023.
We will use the applications to consider options for future procurement and supply. Pharmac will use its usual assessment process, including seeking clinical advice on the applications in the first half of 2024.
Vaccines continue to be available for eligible people..
COVID-19 vaccination programmes – 2024 & beyond
Recently the World Health Organization and some overseas regulators recommended updates to COVID-19 vaccine composition. This is a similar process to the yearly flu vaccine composition update, that happens globally.
Pharmac is working with both Pfizer and Novavax to secure the XBB.1.5 strain vaccine. Both suppliers have submitted an application to Medsafe for their XBB.1.5 vaccine. Medsafe will begin its evaluation shortly.
Pharmac's approach to funding new COVID-19 vaccines will consider international recommendations on the composition and those that have Medsafe approval.
Pharmac will continue to work with suppliers to ensure that vaccines supplied to New Zealand follow Medsafe guidance, especially on timeliness of distribution.
Who to contact
If you have questions about Pharmac's COVID-19 vaccine purchasing, email email@example.com