New Zealand PM Ardern to take first dose of COVID-19 vaccine next week

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in a televised debate with National Leader Judith Collins at TVNZ in Auckland, New Zealand on September 22, 2020. Fiona Goodall / Pool via REUTERS

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Tuesday that she would get her first COVID-19 vaccination late next week as the country prepares to receive another 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“It was important for me that I give priority to those in the most vulnerable group …,” said Ardern at a press conference.

“I choose to have a vaccination at this point to show that I think it is completely safe and also very important to protect others,” she said.

Pfizer has planned to ship an estimated 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand in July, Ardern said.

The Pacific island nation, one of the most successful in the world in containing the spread of COVID-19, has so far fully vaccinated around 250,000 of its 5 million residents.

About 20,000 doses will be administered per day, and Pfizer supplies will allow that pace to be accelerated significantly, Ardern said. At the height of the program in August and September, 50,000 doses will be given every day, she said.

New Zealand has so far had 2,336 confirmed cases and 26 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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