The Malaghan Institute and partners at the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington are helping ensure ongoing access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours as part of Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo.


Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo (VAANZ) brings together a multidisciplinary team of local and international collaborators with proven capability in vaccine research, development, and scale-up manufacturing.

As part of the Government’s COVID-19 vaccine strategyVAANZ is running a national COVID-19 vaccine evaluation and development platform and helping build New Zealand’s capability in vaccine development and production to ensure New Zealand is prepared for future pandemics.

VAANZ platform

The VAANZ platform is designed to support the development of potential domestic and international second generation COVID-19 vaccines, focusing on vaccines that provide longer immunity, are effective against emerging coronavirus strains and could be manufactured domestically in the future.

VAANZ’s independent vaccine advisory group has screened a number of external domestic and international second generation vaccine candidates and has selected a portfolio for further evaluation and development under the platform.

VAANZ is also undertaking a clinical study - ‘Ka Mātau, Ka Ora' (from knowledge comes wellbeing) - into the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, to better understand how New Zealanders’ immune systems respond to the vaccine, particularly in populations likely at higher risk from COVID-19, such as Māori, Pasifika and the elderly.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccine clinical resources available in New Zealand through the VAANZ platform.

VAANZ vaccine candidates

The VAANZ programme is undertaking research and development of two leading second generation COVID-19 vaccine candidates, with initial data showing promising results.

This includes a recombinant spike protein vaccine which has been designed primarily as a booster to raise waning antibody levels and retrain the immune system to recognise virus variants in vaccinated individuals and patients previously recovered from COVID-19.

VAANZ is also part of a Trans-Tasman collaboration with the University of Melbourne and local biotech Avalia Immunotherapies developing a pan-SARS-CoV2 virus-like particle based vaccine as a second generation vaccine and booster shot.

VAANZ structure


  • Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
  • University of Otago
  • Victoria University of Wellington


  • Ag Research
  • Avalia Immunotherapies
  • ESR
  • South Pacific Sera

 Management team

Independent vaccine advisory group

  • NZ and international representatives (scientific and commercial)

From left: Malaghan Institute Director Prof Graham Le Gros, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand and University of Otago Assoc Prof James Ussher. © Victoria University of Wellington 


The VAANZ programme has been boosted by donations to the Malaghan Institute, including from the Hugh Green Foundation.