Documents obtained by Newsroom under the Official Information Act reveal the numbers the Government has been trying to keep secret - how much New Zealand paid for its vaccines, Marc Daalder reports.

Newsroom can reveal that the Government expected to spend $36.50 per dose of the Pfizer vaccine for the general rollout - and earmarked nearly $1 billion for all of the vaccines in its portfolio.

Details of New Zealand's contracts with vaccine manufacturers have been tightly controlled since 2020, when the agreements were first signed. Efforts to access the agreements have been fiercely resisted by the Government.

However, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has mistakenly supplied Newsroom with three unredacted documents concerning New Zealand's vaccine portfolio in response to an Official Information Act request. The documents, which date back to March, April and May of 2021, were provided despite being listed as withheld.

An April vaccine portfolio update included a "fiscal overview of the portfolio". This noted that more than $950 million had been earmarked to purchase vaccines, if the Government's $35 million donation to the COVAX fund was included.

The 10 million doses of Pfizer vaccine that had been directly purchased from the manufacturer would cost a total of $365 million - or $36.50 per dose. In late March, that worked out to about US$25.50, roughly on par with what other countries paid for the vaccine. Israel was reported to have spent US$23.50 per dose. The United States and the European Union both spent less than US$20 per dose for the initial rollout but are now paying around US$24.



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