COVID-19: Who will be first in line for New Zealand's Pfizer vaccine?

Māori, Pasifika and our most vulnerable population groups are first in line for the Pfizer vaccine when it becomes available in New Zealand.

These groups include older people, disabled people, health workers, essential workers and border staff, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said on Tuesday.

The Government in October signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines - enough for 750,000 people.

"As part of the agreement, vaccine delivery to New Zealand could be as early as the first quarter of 2021," Woods said.

"Provided the vaccine is approved for use in New Zealand by Medsafe, it is possible that some doses will be available to us in the first part of 2021."

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to release successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of the vaccine.

An interim analysis found the vaccine was 90 percent effective in protecting people against the COVID-19.

"Today is a great day for science and humanity," Pfizer's chairman and chief executive Albert Bourla told Reuters on Monday.

"We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development programme at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen."

Woods said the COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy Taskforce is currently negotiating with other pharmaceutical companies, and further announcements are expected in November.

"The Government has set aside $66.3 million for medical supplies and infrastructure to ensure New Zealand is ready to launch a COVID-19 Immunisation Programme as soon as we have a safe and effective vaccine," Woods said.