NEW Zealand has donated 28,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Solomon Islands via COVAX.
These doses are entirely funded by New Zealand, and are part of the first tranche of a package of 1.6m doses transferred to COVAX for prioritised allocation to Pacific countries.
So far 211,200 doses have been allocated by COVAX under the first tranche to six Pacific countries eligible for support under the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment, with the majority going to Papua New Guinea based on need.
The decision to share New Zealand’s doses to COVAX was made in a spirit of manaakitanga (generosity and respect) and in light of the global shortage of vaccines and the challenges related to global supplies.
Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio said New Zealand was pleased its donation will save lives. “Dose sharing helps us make the best use of vaccines. We need to do all we can to increase the global supply of vaccines. This means mobilising funding, donating doses, keeping supply chains open, and removing barriers to manufacturing. We encourage all those in a position to do so to consider sharing their vaccines.”
Solomon Islands Health Minister, Dr Culwick Togamana explained that there still remains a huge gap in terms of vaccine supply with the number of eligible people we need to vaccinate and the government is working very hard to secure more supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and strategically roll out the vaccines to minimize risk of COVID-19 community transmission.
“As such, Solomon Islands is very grateful towards the 28,800 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines allocated by the government of New Zealand through its contributions to the COVAX facility for Solomon Islands”, stated the Minister.
The additional supplies will greatly enable us to extend vaccination coverage to our 18 years and above population in western borderline provinces, in the Western and Choiseul Provinces due to the concerning number of cases in Bougainville, neighbor to the west.
These doses are produced by the AstraZeneca manufacturing network, and follow COVAX’s Principles for Dose-Sharing, which provides a framework for economies to share vaccine doses with others that have been secured either via their self-financed COVAX allocations or through bilateral deals.
New Zealand remains committed to supporting Solomon Islands Government with its effort to protect communities from COVID-19 and to support the ongoing management of the impacts of this virus on livelihoods.
–MHMS & NZHC JOINT RELEASE