New Zealand is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure a Covid-19 vaccine
- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Thursday the country would be investing hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure the country got access to a vaccine as soon as it's available, according to the NZ Herald.
- The exact sum could not be revealed due to commercial sensitivity, according to Stuff.co.nz.
- Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods said the government's latest move was to make sure the country didn't get "left out" of getting a vaccine.
- Despite the commitment, Malaghan Institute Director Professor Graham Le Gros warned that New Zealanders should be cautious about the timeline for an effective vaccine.
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New Zealand, which until recently was lauded for beating the coronavirus, is putting hundreds of millions of dollars into making sure it gets a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible, although that vaccine could be two years away, according to one expert.
On Thursday local time, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the country would be investing hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure the country got access to a vaccine as soon as it's available, according to the NZ Herald.
The exact sum could not be revealed, due to commercial sensitivity, according to Stuff.co.nz.
Speaking from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, New Zealand's capital city, Ardern said: "Since day dot of this global pandemic, the Government has gone hard and early in our plan to eliminate the virus and work in as many ways as possible to secure a vaccine as soon as it's available."
"We are working on making sure that we have the capability to manufacture a vaccine in New Zealand at a large scale as well," she said.
Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods said the government's latest move was to make sure New Zealand didn't fall to the back of the international queue to get a vaccine, according to the Herald.
"Otherwise we simply would be left out," she said, the Herald reported.
Malaghan Institute Director Professor Graham Le Gros, whose organisation received the funding, bluntly outlined the time-line to find an effective vaccine.
"The brutal truth is we don't know a lot about this virus and how to make an effective vaccine against it," he said, according to the Herald. "I don't want to depress anyone, but it is going to take time. We have to be patient. My guess is two years."
Le Gros said New Zealand was in a privileged position since it did not need to rush to get the first available vaccine.
As of August 27, New Zealand had 1,695 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 22 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
New Zealand went for 102 days without a new case until mid-August when a sudden outbreak in Auckland prompted a strict lockdown of the city, Business Insider previously reported.
Ardern said she had been talking to other leaders about vaccine development, including Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, and Scott Morrison, according to Newshub.
"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 neighbors to elevate their voices," she said.
Quoting the World Health Organization, Ardern said collaboration was necessary and a vaccine should be universally available.
"Vaccine nationalism only helps the virus," she said.
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