The New Zealand government has announced that it will support its Pacific neighbors by helping them ensure they have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in the coming months.
“Pacific countries have worked hard to keep COVID-19 out, or eradicate it, and New Zealand is committed to supporting them in this,” Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement. But its success has been hard-earned. A safe and effective vaccine will be key to the economic and social recovery of the region ”.
Nanaia Mahuta confirmed that NZ $ 75 million ($ 53 million) of official development assistance had been earmarked to support vaccine access and deployment in the Pacific and the world.
“New Zealand is looking for a portfolio of potential COVID-19 vaccines to ensure we have flexibility and choice in the fast-moving global market. We want to ensure that Pacific countries are also able to access the right options and have the support they need to carry out successful immunization campaigns. “
Associate Foreign Minister Aupito William Sio said New Zealand’s support should be flexible, given the uncertainties surrounding vaccine development.
New Zealand’s focus will be to buy enough vaccines to cover the Kingdom of New Zealand (Tokelau, Niue, Cook Islands) and its Polynesian neighbors (Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu) should their governments wish to take them.
“We are in the best position to support these countries directly because of our constitutional relationships in the Kingdom, and the strong links between our healthcare systems and our close ties between people throughout Polynesia.” Aupito William Sio said. “We will also expand existing healthcare investments so that we can play our role in vaccine deployment.
Included in the multi-million dollar support package, New Zealand plans to make an additional contribution of NZD $ 10 million ($ 7 million) to the COVAX Facility Advanced Market Engagement, which is the key multilateral mechanism that has emerged to support equitable global access. . New Zealand is also ready to contribute to broader Pacific regional initiatives as they take shape.
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