New Zealand Donates Additional Pfizer Vaccines to Tonga and Samoa to Assist Booster Rollouts

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Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules left Auckland for the islands on Sat 5 Feb carrying the vaccines.

Tonga and Samoa are set to receive additional doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines from the  Government of New Zealand. The announcement was made last week by NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta with Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is donating an additional 9,300 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to Tonga, and 10,000 doses to Samoa,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “With Tonga now in lockdown and COVID-19 detected at the border in Samoa, ensuring populations are boosted will play a key role in mitigating the impacts of an outbreak”.

Aupito William Sio said both Samoa and Tonga have done an impressive job of vaccinating their people against Covid-19, and the donations are part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s ongoing commitment to global vaccination efforts and support to vaccine rollout in the Pacific.

“These vaccines will enable frontline workers and vulnerable populations to access a booster as early as possible,” added Aupito.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules departed Base Auckland Whenuapai  on Saturday 5 February, carrying the vaccines, rapid antigen tests, and equipment to support re-establishing the electrical network for Tonga.

Following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami, New Zealand has provided NZD $3 million to Tonga in humanitarian funding.  This donation brings New Zealand’s total vaccine donations to over 47,000 for Tonga and 94,000 for Samoa.

 

At the height of Samoa’s measles epidemic in December 2019, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft delivered 50,000 MMR vaccines to Samoa, with an oxygen generator, oxygen compressors, condensers and bottles. The aircraft and crew then flew to Nadi in Fiji to pick up 50,000 measles and rubella vaccines provided by UNICEF for the Samoan Government’s vaccination programme. New Zealand had provided more than 15,000 MMR vaccines and funded another 100,000 through UNICEF.