The largest shipment of Pfizer vaccines yet has arrived two days ahead of schedule, thanks to a joint effort by the Ministry of Health, Pfizer and logistics company DHL, says COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.
The shipment of 150,000 doses touched down late yesterday afternoon.
The vaccines were taken straight from the tarmac at Auckland Airport to the storage and distribution centre, where quality checks were carried out to ensure ultra-low temperatures were maintained during the flight and that none of the vials were damaged in transit.
“Staff worked late last night to pack and get the vaccine ready for shipment by road and air to District Health Boards and vaccination centres around the country today,” Chris Hipkins said.
“With our first July shipment safely on the ground and 1 million doses arriving this month, over the coming weeks we can start to ramp up the number of vaccines being administered.”
New Zealand had distributed nearly all of its supply of the Pfizer vaccine in storage, giving DHBs enough stock to last until Wednesday.
“The early arrival means no DHB will run out of vaccine. Teams have been working tirelessly to ensure vaccine doses have been getting to the right places to honour all existing appointments, and they’ve done a fantastic job.”
The Ministry of Health has been in constant contact with Pfizer. The company helped secure an earlier release of the vaccines, while DHL planned a route with the quickest transit times to get the vaccines to New Zealand quickly and safely.
“I commend and thank everyone involved – including the wider vaccinator workforce – for their ongoing efforts to ensure people continue to get vaccinated,” Chris Hipkins said.
“Our goal is to keep New Zealanders safe from COVID-19 and vaccination is an important part of that.”