Tonga receives first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX facility


SUVA, March 31 (Xinhua) — The South Pacific island country of Tonga on Wednesday received the first batch of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines it gets through the COVAX facility, a World Health Organization-led initiative aimed at ensuring equal access to COVID-19 vaccines by various countries.

According to Tonga’s leading news website Matangi, Tonga’s Ministry of Health Acting Chief Executive Officer Reynold Ofanoa said the vaccines arrived on a flight from Auckland, New Zealand.

The health ministry said the COVAX facility offers a reliable supply of safe and efficient vaccines especially for Pacific countries like Tonga, who do not have direct access to vaccine manufacturers.

According to a distribution forecast by the COVAX facility in February, Tonga, with a population of more than 100,000, will get 43,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In Tonga, a state of emergency over COVID-19 declared on March 12 last year has been extended to April 12 this year. Enditem


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