New Zealand officials have chosen the Pfizer vaccine with careful consideration.
Medsafe is the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority. It is a business unit of the Ministry of Health and is the authority responsible for the regulation of therapeutic products in New Zealand.
Medsafe's mission is to enhance the health of New Zealanders by regulating medicines and medical devices to maximise safety and benefit.
Medsafe evaluates applications for all new medicines, including vaccines, to ensure that they comply with international standards and local requirements for quality, safety and efficacy. Only if the medicine meets these standards will Medsafe recommend approval for use in New Zealand.
Medsafe concidered three key aspects of the Pfizer vaccine:
- the effectiveness of the vaccine
- the safety data (both determined by clinical study results),
- and finally manufacturing data.
All the data was considered and a benefit risk assessment, which weighed out the benefits of the vaccine against any known risks such as side effects. Medsafe have determined there may be some minor side effects such as a painful arm and headaches – these are not uncommon in other vaccines.
Medsafe also wanted to ensure the company can manufacture the vaccine to a high quality, and that all batches are consistent.
The Pfizer vaccine:
- does not contain any live virus, or dead or deactivated virus
- can't give you COVID-19
- can't affect your DNA
- does not contain any animal products
- is safe for people with latex or food allergies
- is safe for people taking other medications