New Zealand to roll-out vaccine in mid-2021

New Zealand announced on Thursday it's secured enough COVID-19 vaccines for its entire population of 5 million, and will begin a free mass immunisation programme from the middle of next year.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said two new deals had been signed with AstraZeneca and Novavax.

She said the government plans to vaccinate border staff and health workers from April, widening it out to the general population in the second half of the year.

Some of the vaccines will be sent to countries in the Pacific.

"Never before has the entire globe sought to vaccinate the entire population at the same time. Ours will be a sustained roll out over months, not weeks, but our pre-purchase agreements means New Zealand is well positioned to get on with it as soon as it is proven safe to do so.

It marks the end of a good year for Adern, who's been widely praised for her handling of the pandemic.

New Zealand's economy has also managed to rebound from the hard lockdown of March to May, growing by a record 14% in the third quarter, according to official figures released on Thursday.

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