Moderna vaccine shipment arrives in Fiji

Over one hundred and fifty thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine, donated by the United States Government, arrived into Fiji last night through the COVAX Facility.

The Moderna vaccine is said to be ideal for pregnant women and individuals above 60 years of age and with comorbidities because it allows earlier immunity protection as the second dose is administered after 28 days.  The AstraZeneca vaccine, which is the other COVID-19 vaccine taken in Fiji is administered twice with an interval of 8 to 12 weeks.

Speaking at a ceremony in Nadi to mark the arrival of the shipment composing 150,080 doses of the Moderna vaccine, Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) Tony Greubel said “Thanks to the ingenuity of American scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people, we’re in a position to help others.”

The vaccine dose donation follows a May response by the U.S. Government to the Government of Fiji’s request for critical assistance needed to confront the evolving COVID-19 situation in Fiji.  In partnership with UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) redirected funding to procure vital infection prevention and control items for Fiji’s Ministry of Health. 

The Ministry of Health said it would start administering these vaccines from next week to allow pregnant women in the civil service, who wish to work still, to get vaccinated before 1 August 2021.

The vaccines also follow the U.S. donation of 42 freezers to provide storage space for large quantities of vaccine as well as freezer packs, which will allow for the easy transportation of vaccines to inoculation sites.  This donation was funded by the United States Indo-Pacific Command’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid program. 

In addition, CDA Greubel also launched a new $1.5 million partnership between the USAID and UNICEF to support countries in the Pacific Islands region, including Fiji, to combat COVID-19 on July 14, 2021. . The USAID recently announced new work with the local group, Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), to support technical skills training and livelihood options for people in Fiji’s tourism industry who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: Supplied

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