NZ, Australia buy additional vaccines from Denmark, EU respectively

CANBERRA: Both New Zealand and Australia have purchased additional Covid-19 vaccines to speed up inoculations.

New Zealand bought 500,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine from Denmark, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said yesterday, as the country struggles with a cluster in its largest city.

New Zealand, which reported 20 cases in Auckland yesterday, said the vaccines will arrive within days. The latest outbreak now totals 599 since the first case was detected in August.

"There is now more than enough vaccine in the country to vaccinate at the world leading rates we were hitting earlier in the month..." Ms Ardern said in a statement.

New Zealand has struggled to stamp out the last cluster despite a weeks-long lockdown of Auckland. About 1.7 million people there remain in a strict level four lockdown but curbs have been eased in the rest of the country. About a third of the 5.1 million population has been fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Australia has purchased an additional one million doses of Moderna's vaccine from the European Union, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The doses will arrive next week.

Both Sydney and Melbourne are in lockdown and will remain so until 70 per cent of the country's near 26 million population are fully vaccinated, which is not expected until late October.

Australia has also ordered 25 million vaccines from Moderna.

New South Wales yesterday reported 1,262 cases, down from 1,599 recorded a day earlier. Victoria reported 392 cases , down slightly from 450 recorded the day before. - REUTERS