New Zealand will start the mass vaccination against the coronavirus in the second half of 2021, the country's government said in a statement.
"The first priority will be to vaccinate border workers and essential staff who are at the greatest risk of getting COVID-19. Vaccines are expected to be delivered to front line workers in the second quarter of 2021. The aim is to then commence vaccination of the general public in the second half of the year," the statement said.
The country has also signed agreements with two companies - AstraZeneca and Novavax - on purchasing 7.6 million and 10.72 million doses of vaccines, respectively. Before that, the country had already signed deals to buy vaccines developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as by Janssen Pharmaceutica.
The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11. To date, more than 74.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 1.6 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
New Zealand has confirmed 2,100 coronavirus cases so far, with 25 fatalities.