$37m shot in the arm for local vaccine research

Pharmac wants to make sure the vaccine stock held by doctors and pharmacies is being used for...
The Government said it would also advocate internationally for the equitable distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: Getty Images
The Government has allocated $37 million for local development of a Covid-19 vaccine and to join the international efforts.

It has also created a vaccine strategy and a taskforce to overseas its implementation.

Leading scientists have been urging New Zealand to start development of its own vaccine for more than a month amid fears the country could be left behind if a successful one was created overseas.

Of the $37 million funding, launched today by, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister David Clark, $10 million will go to domestic research.

And $5 million has been set aside to support potential manufacturing capabilities.

Up to $15 million will go towards international research collaboration, including those managed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) which funds independent vaccine development.

A further $7 million will go towards vaccine alliance, Gavi, which distributes vaccines to developing countries.

The Government said it would also advocate internationally for the equitable distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, with a particular focus on ensuring Pacific Island nations could access it when needed.

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said New Zealand researchers and the innovation sector had a long history of working with colleagues across the globe to tackle complex global problems.

"It's vital that we contribute to international research efforts as well as ramp up our own research and manufacturing capability," said Woods.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said border restrictions are likely to remain until a vaccine is developed, with estimates that could take 12 to 18 months.

New Zealand is part of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator which is the global platform dedicated to finding a vaccine.

This $37 million funding package, including domestic and international spending, ensures New Zealand is fulfilling its role in the collaborative global response.

 

 

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