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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to take first dose of COVID-19 vaccine next week

The Pacific island nation, which has been among the most successful in the world in containing the spread of COVID-19, has so far fully vaccinated about 250,000 of its 5 million population.

June 08, 2021 / 11:44 AM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that she would get her first COVID-19 shot at the end of next week, as the country prepared to receive another 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

"For me, it's been important that I allow those in the most at risk group... to be prioritised," Ardern said in a news conference.

"I'm choosing to be vaccinated at this point in order to play my role in demonstrating that I consider it to be absolutely safe and also really critical to keep others safe," she said.

Pfizer has scheduled delivery of an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand in July, Ardern said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Pacific island nation, which has been among the most successful in the world in containing the spread of COVID-19, has so far fully vaccinated about 250,000 of its 5 million population.

About 20,000 doses a day are being administered, and the Pfizer deliveries will enable that pace to increase significantly, Ardern said. At the peak of the programme in August and September, 50,000 doses will be administered each day, she said.

New Zealand has had 2,336 confirmed cases and 26 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters
first published: Jun 8, 2021 11:24 am

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