NZ sets aside 'hundreds of millions' to access Covid-19 vaccine, Jacinda Ardern announces

The Government has announced it is putting hundreds of millions of dollars towards accessing a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available - but political leaders today would not disclose the amount. 

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes on top of the $37 million allocated in May for local development and research of a vaccine. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had spoken with world leaders about global vaccine development, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Australian PM Scott Morrison.

"Collaboration is our strength and when we find a vaccine, it must be available to everyone."

"We are working particularly closely with Australia to ensure we are connected to all parts of vaccine development, distribution and use, as well as our Pacific neighbours to elevate their voices," she said. 

The funding, which came from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, was not disclosed "due to commercial sensitivity as it could prevent the best possible deal for New Zealanders". 

Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said the additional funding would help New Zealand access "promising vaccine candidates".

"Our approach to obtaining a Covid-19 vaccine is different to how we’d usually operate, but these are extraordinary times that warrant new and innovative approaches being used," Ms Woods said.

"Governments around the world are using purchasing arrangements to secure supply, and this will be a key mechanism for helping New Zealand to gain access to Covid-19 vaccines."

She said Australia and New Zealand were actively working together to get access to a vaccine for both "and our Pacific neighbours". 

"As long as one country or community is at risk, we are all at risk."