NZ government donates COVID-19 vaccines to PNG

Tuesday 15  June 2021

Officials from the National Department of Health, New Zealand High Commission and UNICEF  were on hand to receive  the AstraZeneca vaccines from the New Zealand Government, at Jackson’s International Airport.

Papua New Guinea received additional AstraZeneca vaccines – this time from the New Zealand Government.

A total of 146, 000 doses of AstraZeneca, bought by the New Zealand Government was delivered to PNG.

They were received at Jackson’s Airport yesterday morning by New Zealand High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea,  H.E. Phillip Taula.

“As whanaunga, friends, and partners, Aotearoa New Zealand stands alongside the Pacific at this difficult time.

“PNG’s success in tackling COVID-19 has been hard-won at an enormous cost to your economy and livelihoods. New Zealand is proud to be partnering with PNG to help us all get through this,” Mr  Taula said.

Through the COVAX facility, New Zealand is providing protection to 1.2 million people across the Pacific. New Zealand’s first shipment of vaccines for PNG arrived in country, today, (June 15 June).

“The Government of Papua New Guinea thanks the Government and people of New Zealand for providing additional AstraZeneca doses through the COVAX Facility as part of their dose sharing mechanism.

These gifted doses will boost Papua New Guinea’s vaccination program and ensure that more people, including essential frontline workers, will be protected. These doses will ensure more lives are saved and that frontline workers can continue to provide

essential services to the people of Papua New Guinea,” said the Secretary of the National Department of Health, Dr Osborne Liko.

Deputy Controller of the PNG COVID-19 Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom, also thanked the government and people of New Zealand for the donation of the vaccines.

“These 146,000 doses of COVID19 vaccines will greatly help the National Department of Health and National Control Centre to rollout the  2nd dose for the front line Health Workers and other essential front line workers’’ said Dr Daoni.

He highlighted the fact that PNG will be receiving 20 per cent of the quantity of the vaccines from the COVAX facility, while partners like the Australian and New Zeeland governments will be supporting additional doses to the Government of PNG-all of these doses will enable the government of PNG to vaccinate 50% of its population who are eligible for this vaccine.

New Zealand’s COVAX shipment to PNG is among the first in the Pacific. In addition, New Zealand will be providing enough vaccines to cover Tokelau, the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tuvalu and Tonga.

“This is in addition to $120 million of official development assistance previously announced by New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia  Mahuta, to help build resilience in Pacific economies,” Mr  Taula said.

“New Zealand will also be providing NZD$ 3 million to support PNG’s National Deployment and Vaccination plan, as requested by the PNG Government in partnership with UNICEF.

“Despite strong efforts to manage COVID-19, PNG’s economy has been impacted in multiple ways. The economic disruption affecting many countries in the Pacific, is unprecedented.

“We all benefit from a vaccinated world. Access to safe and effective vaccines for PNG will protect communities, and help our people to reconnect,” he added.

“UNICEF will continue to leverage its extensive experience in vaccines, cold chain equipment, and other logistic management including procurement and distribution to ensure that quality vaccines are available at all levels to protect its population from the COVID19 pandemic.

UNICEF is also collaborating with the NDOH and partners to heighten risk communication and demand generation efforts for the COVID-19 vaccines among the communities”, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Judith Bruno said.

(source: Health Promotion,  National Department of Health)

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