The Government has allocated $37 million to the research and development of a Covid-19 vaccine
Of that, $10 million will be used to support research in New Zealand, with $5 million set aside to support potential manufacturing capability.
Up to $15 million will be spent on international research collaboration, including those managed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
A further $7 million in official development assistance will go to the vaccine alliance, Gavi, which distributes vaccines to developing countries.
The spending was announced today in a joint statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister David Clark.
The vaccine strategy aims to secure a vaccine safely, effectively and in sufficient quantities - at the earliest possible time.
”New Zealand has quality researchers and a high performing research, science and innovation sector with a long history of working with colleagues across the globe to tackle complex global problems," Ms Woods said.
“It’s vital that we contribute to international research efforts as well as ramp up our own research and manufacturing capability.”
The fund will also ensure New Zealand has detailed knowledge of key international research efforts and an ability to assess promising vaccine candidates as they emerge.
“The Covid-19 vaccine strategy outlines how New Zealand will contribute to global efforts by ramping up our own capability, working with the international community and supporting our Pacific neighbours in the deployment of a vaccine once it becomes available,” Mr Peters said.
“The development of a safe and effective vaccine is a crucial tool in the control of Covid-19 worldwide and a global effort is well underway to develop and test various vaccine candidates,” Dr Clark said.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said vaccine researchers could be interested in New Zealand, which will participate in all aspects of vaccine development.
“There will be some interest in New Zealand because there are low rates of infections here, so we won’t have a level of possible immunity from people who have previously been infected,” he said.
New Zealand will advocate internationally for the equitable distribution of a vaccine, with a particular focus on ensuring our Pacific Island partners can access it when needed.
A task force made up of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as the Ministry of Health and its regulatory and purchasing agencies Medsafe and Pharmac,
Independent science and technical advisers will also support the task force with expert advice.