In a Covid-19 first, the total number of vaccines at New Zealand’s disposal is set to exceed the demands of those that need one.
Not wanting to put them to waste, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that any spare medication will be distributed free of charge to neighbouring countries.
Yup, she is literally giving the vaccine away.
"This will be a sustained rollout over months not weeks but our pre-purchase agreements means New Zealand is well positioned to get on with it as soon as it is proven safe to do so," she said.
With a population of 5 million people, the country is expected to have up to triple of the supply required, after committing to contracts with all four leading providers. Surrounding Pacific islands including Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu can look forward to their populations being covered by the surplus, as well as $65 million of aid.
The expected vaccination rollout is looking a little different to the plans the UK has - New Zealand will prioritise border control staff, as their tight control of borders is a factor that kept rates so low in the first place. Other than preliminary discussions to have an ‘open’ border with Australia, Arden has kept the country tightly shut.
Other key workers will be second in line, with the rest of the population due to get vaccinated in the latter half of 2021.
It’s a continuation of the internet's love-fest for Jacinda’s premiership, having essentially declared New Zealand coronavirus-free back in June.
There has been praise and envy across the board from those that adore her leadership and wished their own leaders would follow suit.
It’s easy to see why.
New Zealand has not reported a single Covid-19 death since September, as was able to keep the number of cases to just 2,121 all year. For context - the UK had 35,928 new cases in one day yesterday.
Not week, month, year…day.
It’s great to see somewhere in the world on top of this enough that they can start giving back, without hesitation.