29 Jan 2021

Vaccine delays prompt questions about NZ's production capacity

From Morning Report, 8:37 am on 29 January 2021

As vaccine delays threaten to disrupt the Covid-19 response in Europe, attention is turning to whether New Zealand could manufacture one on-shore.

Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca have both warned of possible delays, as the European Union places new rules on export to countries outside the bloc.

Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand says it is investigating the potential to produce either vaccine here, but overseas delays shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Katie Doyle reports.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson told RNZ by email that decisions about whether New Zealand would manufacture a vaccine would depend on the commercial considerations of pharmaceutical companies.

The ministry also confirmed that while no company is currently licensed to manufacture a human vaccine in New Zealand, there has been investment for BioCell to upgrade its Auckland facility.