SUVA, March 29 (Xinhua) — Fiji received on Monday night the second batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine it has procured through the COVAX facility, a World Health Organization-led initiative aimed at ensuring equal access to COVID-19 vaccines by various countries.
According to a Fijian government statement, the 100,000 vaccine doses arrived at the Nadi International Airport, about 200 km west of the Fijian capital Suva, and Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama attended the handover.
According to Bainimarama, the newly arrived vaccine doses will be used to inoculate the remaining people in the priority groups including frontline workers, medical staff, quarantine and hotel workers, and members of the Disciplined Forces.
He said that in the meantime the Fijian government will also kick off the second phase of the country’s vaccine rollout to cover more vulnerable segments of Fiji’s population.
Fiji, a Pacific island nation with a population of around 900,000, has planned to get 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
On March 6, Fiji received its first batch of 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility. As of last Thursday, a total of 6,278 people in Fiji have received the first jab of the vaccine.
According to Bainimarama, Fiji will receive another shipment of 90,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.
Fiji looks forward to working with its development partners on a bilateral basis to secure more shipments of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, according to the prime minister.
Fiji’s Health Ministry said earlier that visitors to the island nation will still need to be quarantined even if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, noting this is a regular practice in many countries.
Since its first confirmed case of COVID-19 reported on March 19 last year, Fiji has so far recorded 67 cases including one active case, 64 recoveries and two deaths.
Fiji still maintains strict travel restrictions to date for foreign visitors alongside a nationwide curfew effective from March 30 last year. Enditem