New Zealand may open its borders to vaccinated travelers before it has completed its own vaccine rollout, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
"Will people who've been vaccinated in other countries be able to come in even if we haven't finished our vaccine rollout? The answer is possibly,” Ardern said in a pre-budget speech on Thursday.
The Prime Minister did not give a date for the decision but she said it would be built on emerging evidence on how effective vaccines are at stemming transmission as well as symptoms of Covid-19.
New Zealand has fully vaccinated 2.5% of its population so far, according to figures from Our World in Data. The government plans to offer the vaccine to adults of all ages from July.
Currently, only New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and travelers from Australia may enter the country, with few exceptions.
On Monday, New Zealand will open a travel bubble with the Cook Islands, before extending the bubble to the Pacific nation of Niue, Ardern said.
“Beyond that we are relatively open-minded, and I do anticipate there will be other countries we can explore opportunities with,” Ardern said.