COVID-19 vaccine: What it means for New Zealanders and international travel

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement about the arrival of vaccines in New Zealand has revealed a little light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel for tourism in Aotearoa.

On Friday Ardern announced the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines will arrive next week and border workers will start getting jabs from February 20.

She said that while the arrival is a massive step in the battle against the pandemic, it won't immediately change the status of our borders with Australia and the rest of the world.

"We don't have enough data yet for vaccines having an impact on transmission, so we just can't say for sure that if you are vaccinated you're not at risk of passing COVID-19 onto others," Ardern said.

However, travel may become much more likely if data does start to show that vaccines do indeed block transmission. 

"That will be a significant step - if we see evidence and data emerge that shows vaccines are blocking transmission, and I'm sure that would make a difference to travel to all parts of the world," Ardern said.

The comments come just a day after Tourism Minister Stuart Nash told The AM Show that businesses need to accept "the cold, hard reality" of New Zealand not accepting international tourists until 2022.