New Zealand's medicines regulator has provisionally approved the country’s first Covid-19 vaccine, the government announced on Wednesday.
Medsafe provisionally authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is expected to arrive in New Zealand by the end of the first quarter, according to Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
Provisional approval means the pharmaceutical company must meet certain conditions, including supplying more data from its clinical trials around the world as they progress, the government said in a news release. This will happen at the same time as the vaccine is rolled out.
New Zealand “will start vaccinating first border workers and the people they live with," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. "People such as cleaners, the nurses who undertake health checks in MIQ (Managed isolation and quarantine), security staff, customs and border officials, airline staff and hotel workers will be among the first to get the vaccine.”
“There is more work to do, we are not out of the woods yet -- but the provisional approval of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is a significant milestone," added Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield.