Additional Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines purchased

Additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have been secured.

The government has signed a purchase agreement with Pfizer for 4.7 million additional doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for delivery in 2022.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says this purchase agreement will ensure that NZ will have a continual supply of Pfizer vaccines throughout next year.

“These vaccines will be provided to those who didn’t access a vaccine in 2021, for example those turning 12 next year, be used if the eligibility is extended to younger age groups, and for a potential booster programme if the evidence determines this is required and if Medsafe grants approval.

“New Zealand is also committed to supporting our Pacific neighbours with their Covid-19 response, including vaccine supply.”

New Zealand has access to a total of 10.88 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in 2021. The additional agreement for 4.7 million doses will be delivered throughout 2022.

“These doses will complement the other Covid-19 vaccines in our portfolio, which are scheduled for delivery in 2022. Further announcements on use of these vaccines will be made in due course,” says Hipkins.

“The Pfizer vaccine is being rolled out right across New Zealand, including to our hard to reach and rural areas. We are continuing to focus on reaching at least 90 per cent vaccination rates across all DHBs.

“We have the ability to deliver vaccines right across Aotearoa New Zealand, quickly and efficiently, and there is enough vaccines right now for every eligible person to be fully vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, National is calling on the Government to urgently fund 100,000 free counselling sessions to respond to growing mental distress caused by Covid.

“Covid has been hugely tough on everyone, making easier access to mental health services such as counselling critically important,” says National’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention spokesperson Matt Doocey.

“We’ve seen high numbers of businesses closing, job losses and financial distress. The ongoing uncertainty is creating enormous stress for more and more people every day, making better access to mental health services crucial.

File photo.

“We would like the Government to fund 100,000 free counselling sessions to those that need help right here and now, as well as to catch up on the growing list of people who have been waiting to get the help they need.

“The need now during Covid is greater than ever. I’ve been approached by mental health counsellors working in DHBs who are seeing a growing number of referrals as a result of the impacts of Covid, but who are being told there is no extra funding available to respond to this growing demand.

In 2019, the Government announced its flagship frontline mental health service, which placed mental health professionals in GP practices to increase access to mental health support.

Doocey says this was an initiative National enthusiastically backed.

“However, two-and-a-half years later, Labour has failed to roll this programme out to GP practices in a timely manner, with more than 70 per cent still not providing the service.

“We are calling on the Government to now to fund 100,000 free counselling sessions for Kiwis who urgently need help.”

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