New Zealand buys enough COVID vaccine for itself – and its neighbors

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New Zealand wins the prize for best neighbor ever.

The island nation is giving a helping hand across the South Pacific, buying COVID vaccines for six neighbors: Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Tuvalu.

New Zealand has a population of 5 million but has ordered roughly 18 million doses — 7.6 million from AstraZeneca and 10.72 million from Novovax, MyModernMet reported. Under the double-dose system, the order will cover more than 10 million people.

The neighboring states can decide whether they want the doses. Every New Zealander will receive the vaccine for free.

New Zealand has been a model for beating back the virus through contact tracing and quarantines. Today, the country has no confirmed cases.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta praised New Zealand’s neighbors for everything they’ve done to stymie the infection’s spread. 

“Pacific countries have worked hard to keep COVID-19 out, or to stamp it out, and New Zealand has been committed to supporting them in this.”

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