Writer: Lois

New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister and Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

According to leaked data, the New Zealand government expects to pay 36.50 NZD (around 24.18 USD) per dose of Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

The information dates back to March, April and May 2021. According to the documents, the government’s purchase of the 10 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses cost the country 365 million NZD or 36.50 NZD per dose.

The government reportedly agreed on a total of 80.6 million NZD for AstraZeneca vaccines, or 10.60 NZD (around 7.02 USD) per dose, 384.7 million NZD for Novavax vaccines, or 35.89 NZD (around 23.78 USD) per dose and 85.5 million for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, or 17.10 NZD (around 11.33 USD) per dose.

New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins accidentally released the data in response to New Zealand mainstream media outlet Newsroom‘s Official Information Act request for the country’s vaccine portfolio.

Mr Hipkins said at a press conference that he regrets the accidental information leak, which could impact the government’s relationship with Pfizer.

“Obviously, it was information that was not supposed to be released, so of course, I regret that it has been released and certainly would regret any implication that that might have for the relationship with Pfizer,” said the minister.

Until now, officials had attempted to keep the price of vaccines a secret, citing commercial sensitivity.

According to Mr Hipkins, the Ministry of Health has discussed the leak with Pfizer, while his office has not yet contacted the Big Pharma giant on the matter.

Mr Hipkins refused to provide any further details of the data leak, saying that doing so would be acting in bad faith.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also at the press conference with Mr Hipkins to announce the shortened interval between the second COVID-19 shot and the booster. Ms Ardern said the period would be shortened from four months to three months for those aged 18 and over, beginning this Friday.

The shortened period between the second shot and the booster means one million more New Zealanders could receive their booster shot this week, including 100,000 Māori and 52,000 Pacific people, which would significantly increase each population’s eligibility.

“I urge everyone eligible, go and get your booster as soon as possible,” said Ms Ardern.

“The reason is clear. Vaccination is one of the most important things we can do to prepare for and fight the current Omicron outbreak.”

The government expects to run a major booster campaign over February.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said he is expecting advice next week from the Ministry of Health’s Technical Advisory Group regarding boosters for 12 to 17-year-olds.

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 surveillance report from Australia’s New South Wales Department of Health shows that most COVID-19 cases and deaths are among the vaccinated, in a record spike in the state’s number of infected people since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Posted by: Vontheway (V在途中)