Covid update: Medsafe at 'final stages' of Janssen vaccine decision

Medsafe is in the final stages of making a decision on provisional approval on the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine, Chris Hipkins said in today's Covid-19 update. 

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins and the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield at a press conference. Source: Getty

The Janssen vaccine went to Medsafe for approval on April 7. Two months ago, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield estimated Medsafe advice on Janssen could be two to three weeks away. 

If it were to get provisional approval, Ministry of Health officials provide advice to Government to then make a decision around using the vaccine. 

Government to look at green light flights from next week

The Government will look into "green-light" flights for Kiwis stuck in any Australian states where the bubble is still paused post-Tuesday evening. 

The pause is set to lift for South Australia, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania this Sunday evening, July 4. Any traveller from Australia to New Zealand now need to provide a negative PCR Covid-19 test. 

Cabinet would meet on Monday to discuss the situation of NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory, as areas battle Covid outbreaks. 

For Kiwis trapped, the Government would explore the possibility of green light flights, such as those used recently from Melbourne after a 14 day lockdown. 

Vaccine supply

Chris Hipkins said the possibility of temporarily running out of Covid-19 vaccines was "always going to be the case". 

"It's very much the position we are in at the moment."

"We would rather have vaccines in people's arms than waiting in freezers," he said. 

Yesterday, Hipkins told media that New Zealand was "cutting it very fine", as stock is set to near zero, ahead of an expected shipment on Tuesday. 

About 150,000 vaccines are due, however any delays could cause issues, Hipkins said. 

Next week could see less than a day's worth of vaccine left in the freezers. 

It also comes as the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines was delivered to the Chatham Islands in "somewhat stormy conditions". 

"If Covid was to make it there, the community could be significantly compromised," Hipkins said. 

Large deliveries are expected mid-July onwards, with an estimated one million doses.