Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the timeline for a Covid-19 vaccine will be clearer before Christmas, after being pressed by ACT leader David Seymour in Parliament today.
During the first question time since the election, Seymour questioned why Kiwis may have to wait until March to get a Covid-19 vaccine when the UK plans to roll one out next week.
Ardern replied that there is still "no exact clarity on delivery dates" as clinical trials are still taking place on all potential vaccines.
She says some countries are willing to accept higher risk due to large outbreaks there, while New Zealand can have a more cautious "regulatory process" here to ensure safety.
"When will the Prime Minister be able to layout a timeline on making a vaccine available, given it has become available?" Seymour asked.
Ardern replied it's still "highly speculative" as to when different countries will begin rolling out a vaccine and said she will give Kiwis more clarity around a timeline here before Christmas.
The Prime Minister says negotiations with one of the companies it has agreed to buy a vaccine off is looking like having a March 2021 delivery date at this stage.
Seymour issued a statement shortly after the exchange in Parliament calling for more details now.
“Her pre-Christmas update will have to be much more detailed than saying there’ll be lots of vaccine, it will be free, and we hope to have most of the population jabbed by the third quarter of 2021.
“It’s clear that much of the world is stealing a march on us.
“The public needs to see some urgency and some detail,” he says.
The Government has agreed to buy vaccines from Pfizer and Janssen, subject to the competing vaccines successfully completing clinical trials and passing necessary approvals in New Zealand.
The Government has agreed to purchase five million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Janssen, and 1.5 million doses of Pfizer's, which requires a double dose.