Australia-U.N. to bring millions of vaccines to Pacific

Australia and UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) have announced a partnership to finance the purchase of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Timor-Lese.

Australia's High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty, told the Samoa Observer that the Australian Government was committed to working together with its regional neighbours amid the global pandemic. 

"There is no higher priority for Australia and countries in our region than access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines," she said in a statement.

She said the Australian Government is committed to working together with its neighbours to save lives, reopen economies reopen and preserve the stability of the region. 

"Australia is pleased to partner with UNICEF to finance the procurement of up to 6 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses for the Pacific and Timor-Leste in 2021, as well as safe injecting devices, safe disposable containers and delivery to country ports," Ms; Moriarty said. 

The High Commissioner said that Australia’s UNCIEF partnership for procuring COVID-19 vaccines was part of a $523.2 million COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative for the Pacific and Southeast Asia. 

"This support complements our $80 million funding to the [World Health Organisation managed] COVAX Facility to ensure healthcare workers and vulnerable groups in our region and beyond have timely access to vaccines," she said.

Ms. Moriarty said Australia has been a strong advocate for equitable access to vaccines for Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

"This partnership brings this commitment a step closer for countries within the Pacific and southeast Asia, to help them to achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage," she said.

Samoa received 24,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in April.

The Government's mass vaccination programme began in late April and vaccinations in the Vaimauga 1 and Vaimauga 2 districts.

As of Saturday, 11,950 people in Samoa have been vaccinated - 6,791 are male and 5,159 female.

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