Wellington [New Zealand], February 3 (ANI/Sputnik): New Zealand authorised emergency use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, with a view to receiving the first shipment by April.
It is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the country.
"Medsafe's [regulator's] decision is the culmination of a rigorous assessment process over many months to ensure the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective to use here. It is informed by the most up to date medical and scientific data. We can have confidence in their decision," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, as quoted in a press release.
Frontline medical workers, border staff and risk groups will be the first in line to receive the shots.
"We expect the first Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines will arrive in New Zealand by the end of the first quarter, but we are making sure everything is in place in case there is an earlier arrival," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins stated.
According to national media, the country will first receive 450,000 out of 1.5 million Pfizer vaccine doses. The island nation also has contracts with other vaccine manufacturers -- Janssen, AstraZeneca and Novovax. (ANI/Sputnik)