The New Zealand government is looking to hold talks with Pacific counterparts about how to distribute Covid-19 vaccines in the region.
Medical authorities in New Zealand have already approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for use to immunise people 16 years and older.
“We’ll be really looking to have conversations with our counterparts in the Pacific around what might be possible with some of those trickier vaccines so that we can see similar levels of protection provided in the Pacific at the same time as we might be seeing that in New Zealand,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Ardern said her government was also in discussions about how vaccine distribution will work in the Pacific.
In the case of the Pfizer vaccine, the need for ultra-cold freezer storage presents steep logistic challenges in the tropics.
“One of the issues that we’ve been having to contend with is simply, how do we overcome the distribution issues that Pfizer particularly presents.
“As you’ve heard (there’s) specific equipment needed for transportation. Very limited timeframe they can be outside of that equipment,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ardern said that New Zealand border workers would start receiving the Covid-19 vaccine next weekend.