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National is calling on the Government to back New Zealand’s scientists by funding them to join the global effort to develop and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine, National’s Research, Science and Innovation spokesperson Parmjeet Parmar says.

“Our scientists believe we have the capability to develop and manufacture a vaccine here, including Professor James Ussher of Otago University who has called for up to $10 million to be made available.

“Development of an effective vaccine could still take about 12 months, and once it is ready it could take several more months for New Zealand to access supplies of it from overseas.

“Supporting collaborative research in this country could help us access a vaccine quicker. We should be mindful of the fact there are 213 countries or territories New Zealand will be competing with for vaccine stocks once they are available.

“I’m calling on Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods to support this work as there is only a small window of time for the Government to act before it becomes too late for New Zealand to join the global effort.

“The sooner we get our hands on a vaccine, the sooner we can reignite our economy and get our lives back to normal. National backs our Kiwi scientists to get this done.”

Media contact: Michael Forbes 021 829 804

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