Royal New Zealand Airforce Arrives with 50,000 MMR Vaccines


News Sources: The New Zealand Defence Force is providing logistics support to the New Zealand Government response to the Samoan measles epidemic.

On Friday, following an urgent request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 Hercules aircraft took an oxygen generator, oxygen compressors, condensers and bottles to Samoa.

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 Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters told Checkpoint‘s Lisa Owen that New Zealand has provided more than 15,000 MMR vaccines and are fundinf another 100,000 through UNICEF.

NZ Foreign Minister says Samoa took weeks to respond to offers of assistance.

“This is a tragic situation for Samoa, and New Zealand deeply feels for them.”

“We offered help weeks ago and waited for the response from the Samoan government.

“We didn’t hear back until some time later, but the moment we did, we virtually had our medical teams ready to go.”

We’re afunding through Unicef 100,000 MMR vaccines to Samoa. So it’s a huge effort that’s going in from New Zealand’s point of view.”

Yesterday an RNZAF Boeing 757 transported 2784 kilograms of medical stores, including hand sanitiser, chilly bins for vaccine transportation, vaccine fridges, power supplies for the fridges and 150 cartons of medical supplies.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules collects 50,000 measles and rubella vaccines in Nadi, Fiji. (Credit to UNICEF/Infinity Images Fiji)

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said the NZDF was prepared to do everything it could to support the Government’s response to the epidemic.

“We’re working closely with MFAT to provide assistance through aircraft and manpower where it’s needed,” Rear Admiral Gilmour said. “We’re glad we can do something to help our Pacific neighbours and our thoughts are with everyone affected.”

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 offloads medical stores in Samoa. Credit to UNICEF/Infinity Images Fiji