The Government says the country now has enough freezers to store up to four million doses of Covid vaccine at any one time.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday that 17 new ultra-low temperature freezers had arrived on May 27.
They’re currently being tested and accredited and will be ready for use by the end of this month.
The freezers cost up to $20,000 a piece and NZ now has 26 of them.
On Tuesday the Government had announced that Pfizer would be shipping 1 million doses of vaccine to New Zealand next month.
Hipkins said five of the new freezers have arrived in Christchurch, adding to the two already there, "to ensure we have a second hub with capacity to deliver vaccines across the South Island and lower North Island".
The 12 remaining will be based in Auckland, bringing the total number to 26 freezers – 23 operating and three as back-up – across New Zealand.
“This will be enough storage for four million doses at any one time,” Hipkins said.
Having two vaccination hubs and back-up freezers prepares New Zealand for any potential risks, such as earthquakes or other major disruptions to the roll-out, he said.
“This is the largest and most complex exercise the health system in New Zealand has ever undertaken and we want to ensure we are prepared for anything.”
All shipments of the Pfizer vaccine currently go to Auckland, but as larger shipments start to arrive they will be flown direct to both Auckland and Christchurch for packing and distribution.
“This is the next step in getting the country ready to deliver 50,000 vaccinations a day at the peak of our vaccination campaign,” Hipkins said.