The Government has today announced an in-principle agreement to purchase up to five million Covid-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson.
The agreement is subject to the vaccine successfully completing clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, according to Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods.
Janssen Pharmaceutica - whose parent company is Johnson & Johnson - produces the vaccine, which is likely to be delivered in a single dose, meaning five million shots would more than cover demand here.
“This agreement forms part of our portfolio approach to ensure that we have the ability to access a range of vaccine options, if and when a suitable vaccine is developed and approved,” says Woods.
“The agreement with Janssen would see the first doses – up to two million – delivered from the third quarter of 2021. We have the option to purchase up to three million additional doses, which would be delivered throughout 2022."
Woods praised the safety record of Janssen and Johnson & Johnson in New Zealand.
“This gives us confidence in their ability to develop, manufacture and deliver a safe and effective vaccine,” Woods said.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently in stage 3 clinical trials encompassing 60,000 people.
Last week the Government announced an agreement to purchase 1.5 million doses of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine, which has been shown to be 90 per cent effective in early trials.
That one, however, is a double dose vaccine, meaning 750,000 Kiwis would have access to it initially.