Sydney, Australia, Jul 29 (EFE).- New Zealand has granted provisional approval for the use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people 18 years of age and older, the government reported Thursday.
It is the third vaccine to receive clearance from New Zealand’s pharmaceutical regulator Medsafe, after Johnson & Johnsons Janssen and Pfizer’s vaccine, which the country has been relying most on for its rollout.
“We are in a fortunate position to now have three vaccines receive provisional approval. Cabinet is yet to consider whether to use the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in New Zealand.,” Acting Minister for Covid-19 Response Ayesha Verrall said in a statement.
“However this is an important step towards enabling the donation of AstraZeneca from New Zealand to Pacific countries, where we have made commitments.”
The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern secured 7.6 million doses of AstraZeneca in an advance purchase agreement last year, enough to fully immunize 3.8 million people, especially as part of its plan to supply to the Pacific region where Fiji has been experiencing a severe Covid crisis since April.
New Zealand began its immunization campaign on Feb. 20 with workers at borders and quarantine centers, followed by those in the health sector and at-risk jobs, as well as of vulnerable people.
To date, authorities have administered more than 1.7 million doses, with about 700,000 fully vaccinated. On July 28, it began immunizing the bulk of its 5 million residents, according to the age-segmented program that is expected to conclude before the end of the year.
New Zealand, whose management of the pandemic has been considered the best in the world, has accumulated 2,508 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 26 deaths, while it has 403 active infections, all of them in the quarantine centers for overseas arrivals. EFE