NZ rolls out more Covid-19 support for the Pacific

Covid-19 vaccines are poised to be rolled out in the Cook Islands from next Wednesday, and the New Zealand government has announced more vaccines and $120 million in additional support for Pacific countries.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the rollout in the Cook Islands would begin on 19 May. It was expected to take six to eight weeks, and would then be followed by programmes in Niue and Tokelau - both are also part of the realm of New Zealand.

The government today pledged to provide additional Covid-19 vaccines to Pacific Island nations, so their total delivery would reach at least 1.2 million people in the region in the coming year.

It also announced $120 million had been reprioritised from Official Development Assistance this year to support Pacific Island countries to weather the economic storm caused by the pandemic.

Much of the new package is tagged for Fiji and Papua New Guinea, which are both battling outbreaks of Covid-19, but some was also being sent to Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.