When John Key went on the air to take over the government in response to Covid-19, he said we could pay for priority delivery of the Pfizer vaccine — the company’s statement said it was “wrong and unfounded.”
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has categorically denied former Prime Minister John Key’s claim that New Zealand could have paid $ 40 million for pre-access to the Covid-19 vaccine, saying the concept was “wrong and unfounded.”
Kay put the accusation as part of a media blitzkrieg criticizing the government’s reaction to Covid and accusing ministers and officials of living in a “smug hermit kingdom.”
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Although an application for access to the vaccine was not included in the published article Things,, NZ Herald and a number of other outlets, Ki said RNZThe Government’s “Morning Report” failed to raise the amount needed to ensure priority access to the vaccine.
“The government would not pay $ 40 million to Pfizer to get us the vaccines we deserve. Instead, they would want to pay a billion or a billion and a half a week to be in level 4 quarantine.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins have previously denied that such an option was open to the Cabinet, and Hipkins told parliament that Pfizer “is not ready to offer rich countries the opportunity to pay more to displace countries that can’t afford to “do it”.
The company itself has now decided, said a representative of New Zealand News editorial office on Monday, that “the notion that any national government pays a premium for a priority dose is wrong and unfounded.”
A spokesman said the government had signed an initial agreement with Pfizer to supply 1.5 million doses in December last year, followed by an additional agreement for 8.5 million doses in March this year.
Although her negotiations were confidential, the supply of the vaccine to New Zealand was designed with doses available and “the earliest schedule that could be provided at the time.”
Pfizer seeks fair access to vaccines and continues to fulfill its contractual obligations to the government “in all respects,” the spokesman said.
Kay’s $ 40 million figure appears to be from a blog post by Auckland University economist Robert McCullough, who claimed that in July the government “hid what went wrong with their orders for the Pfizer vaccine.”
With reference to a BMJ In an article stating that Israel had paid $ 23.50 for a dose of Pfizer, $ 19.50 and the UK $ 14.70, McCullough then suggested that New Zealand had offered a figure similar to that in the United States. , which he used to calculate the cost of providing an “extremely increased delivery schedule.”
“The cost-benefit arithmetic looks like this: for our population of 5 million people, if we pay $ 40 million more (for two doses), we could avoid billions upon billions of additional economic and well-being.”
Talking to News editorial officeMcCulloch said he remained true to his claims, despite denials from Pfizer and the government, and said the issue could be clarified more transparently.
“No one will make it public, the New Zealand government will not make the details of the talks public, so how do any of us know? … If they’re not afraid of it, why not publish it to a public domain? “
He said the government had made the mistake of not ordering the Pfizer vaccine on a large scale early last year to secure supplies. However, this was previously stated by Managing Director of Pfizer’s Australia and New Zealand Anne Harris TVNZ the government did not hesitate to order the vaccine.
Asked whether the speed of ordering vaccines against COVID by New Zealand depends on the question of how much it paid, McCullough said it was “all about cost”.
The government wanted to wait to see which vaccine was best before buying it in bulk, which it said “wants to get your cake and eat it.”
McCullough said the government should be prepared to bear the cost of acquiring not only Pfizer but all of its competitors on such a scale as to have quick access, even if some were later shown to be ineffective. He denied that this was a different argument than the one in his blog post, which focused on the cost of the vaccine per dose paid by different countries for the Pfizer vaccine.
The economist said his criticism of the government’s approach was not inherent in nature, noting that he had criticized Kay for failing to conduct a similar cost-benefit analysis as head of state.
Although Israeli officials anonymously told some media that the country had paid a premium for the Pfizer vaccine, they also agreed to share patients’ private data with a pharmaceutical company to help confirm the concept of the vaccine’s effectiveness, and the decision was not disputed.
Some also refer to Canada’s revision of the contract with Pfizer to receive vaccines ahead of schedule, but Canadian media report that this is due to the fact that the process of authorization of the vaccine in the country is moving faster than expected.
The key did not respond to a comment request.