J&J pauses COVID-19 vaccine trials due to unexplained illness in participant

New Zealand inks deal with Pfizer BioNTech to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines

In total, researchers are targeting the recruitment of 500,000 volunteers for vaccine trials and studies, including the promising Oxford trial which recently resumed after a short, mandatory hiatus to investigate when a patient developed a health complication.

AstraZeneca has signed several deals with companies and governments around the world to supply more than three billion doses of the vaccine as it gets closer to reporting early results of a late-stage clinical trial.

Johnson & Johnson said on it had temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant, delaying one of the highest profile efforts to contain the global pandemic.

The vaccine, first licensed by Russian authorities for domestic use in August, is now being tested on 40,000 volunteers in Moscow as part of a late-stage trial known as Phase III.

More than 1,500 people have been affected by Covid-19, with 25 reported deaths so far in New Zealand. As requested by the Government of New Zealand, deliveries are planned in 2021, subject to clinical success and local regulatory approval.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund, RDIF, Russia's sovereign wealth fund, is partnering with Aurugulf Health Investment, on the UAE trials of the vaccine, which was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.

"A key aim of our portfolio approach is to ensure we have flexibility and choice when it comes to securing the right vaccines for New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours", Woods said. "A number of factors will influence who will receive what vaccines and when, such as trial data on the suitability of each vaccine for certain age groups", Hipkins said.

The programme aims to offer equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for rich and poor countries alike.

"Most of this investment will pay for sufficient supplies to support New Zealand and Pacific Realm countries".

The European Commission has said it will purchase 200 million doses from BioNTech-Pfizer, with the option to buy an additional 100 million.