Duncan Garner: Ministerial source reveals vaccine development seriously advanced

OPINION: There are two pieces of staggeringly good news when it comes to COVID-19. 

For New Zealand - touch wood - the worst is behind us on the health and economic front. 

Firstly the health side: the Government has secured 1.5 million vaccines which would cater for 750,000 New Zealanders.

According to US experts, it should be here by February or March, but there is the possibility that it comes before Christmas.

Of course, we need more. So 10 million doses if we are to protect and immunise the entire population.

But one senior Government minister has kept me informed on a confidential basis, and he says by June, more doses will be rolled out and from what he has seen behind the scenes, this vaccine development is now seriously advanced. 

Despite it still being in the very late trial period the companies involved are confident the boxes are being ticked. 

My source tells me New Zealand is sitting in a good position and the most vulnerable people will get the vaccine first. 

It's a global race. Eleven vaccines are in phase 3 trial, six are being looked at seriously by big countries like the USA, and five are in advanced and final trial period testing.

Crucially that's where the New Zealand vaccine is, and now the deal is done. 

So with the WHO also saying lockdowns aren't the way to go anymore New Zealand sits poised to pounce economically.

We desperately need to open our borders at some stage and get on with life. We need international students and tourists and families and reunifications.

We are an island nation. It's crucial. 

But that will only happen, according to the minister I've spoken to, when the vaccine is here. 

However, this is the best news we've had in a year and my ministerial source says by next June, watch for the border to properly open.

After a year of grim, this light is most welcome.

Duncan Garner hosts The AM Show.