Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says Kiwis won’t get to choose which of the vaccines they’ll end up getting, as health authorities will decide which jabs will go to which groups of the population.
Hipkins said leaving the decision up to authorities would mean vaccines could be allocated based on who it would best work for.
“It’s not that you just get to rock up and take your pick of the four [vaccines NZ has ordered],” he said.
“As the science continues to tell us more, then we have the ability to fine-tune and refine that [vaccine rollout] programme.”
It comes as Oxford University researchers studying the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine found the vaccine appeared to reduce transmission of the virus, according to preliminary results.
The Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said the results were “encouraging”.
“We will see this emerging quite quickly for all the vaccines that are in use, including the Pfizer one,” Bloomfield said.
“You can imagine a situation where we had two or even three vaccines onshore at the same time, and we would want to be thinking, ‘OK, how do we use these different vaccines best for different populations to ensure we get the highest possible both coverage, but also response and immunity.’”
The Government bought 7.6 million doses of the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which could cover 3.8 million New Zealanders.
It also secured 10.7 million doses from Novavax, a US vaccine development company, which could vaccinate 5.6 million people.
Both vaccines need two doses. The two vaccines add to the 750,000 courses from Pfizer and five million courses from Janssen.