COVID-19: Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says work 'progressing at pace' to secure more vaccines, declines to give details

New Zealand is working to secure more doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from other countries to add to our rollout efforts, Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall says without giving further details.

Dr Verrall told The AM Show while she couldn't divulge in any negotiations, only that work is "progressing at pace".

The Government has been criticised for a sluggish vaccine rollout, with only about 21 percent of New Zealanders fully vaccinated. 

In an interview on Monday, The AM Show host Ryan Bridge asked Dr Verrall whether the Government had been in contact with other countries to secure more vaccine supply.

Bridge referred to Australia, which earlier this month was able to purchase about 1 million Pfizer doses from Poland.

"Whenever you're in a negotiation you can't give the details away - it makes it very hard to be able to strike a deal. Nonetheless, officials have worked very hard in recent weeks over that and we hope that we'll be able to report back on that soon," Dr Verrall said. 

"We want to see if we're able to maintain this really high rate of vaccination that we've got at the moment and that's what we're working on."

Ayesha Verrall.
Ayesha Verrall. Photo credit: The AM Show

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the Government won't set a vaccination target - only that she wants the "best in the world" when it comes to coverage. 

"We have kept New Zealanders safe and we will continue to do so while we have our full-scale ramp-up of our vaccination campaign," she told The AM Show last week. "We need to have as many New Zealanders as possible vaccinated if we want to protect them against the kinds of outbreaks that  you are still seeing in both those countries."