Covid-19 vaccines

Solomon Islands receives 50,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine from China

The Solomon Times reports that the doses of Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Honiara on Sunday night.

The Sinopharm vaccine, which was developed by a Beijing-based State-Owned Enterprise, is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation.

But the Solomons government said it would closely monitor the WHO's approval process relating to Sinopharm.

A Health Ministry official said the Sinopharm vaccine will only be rolled out once WHO approves it.

First batch of Covid-19 vaccines arriving soon in Vanuatu

Due to limited global supply, Vanuatu will be receiving the vaccine in batches, said the Ministry.

“Over the course of 2021, the government expects to receive enough vaccines to vaccinate the initial 20% of the population as per the first phase of its rollout plan,” the MoH stated according to a Vanuatu Daily Post report.

“The first batch of vaccines will be rolled out on Efate and its offshore islands for prioritised groups which includes health workers, frontline workers, elderly or older people years 55 and over and people with existing medical conditions.

Tourism body wants islands to get vaccine access

With tourism a leading employer and economic pillar for many of the small states, the United Nations agency said pledges to ensure 'nobody was left behind' had to be backed up with firm actions.

It said that given the relatively small size of the populations in the small island states the cost of mass vaccinations will be minimal compared to the potential benefits of restarting tourism.

Top athletes get COVID-19 vaccination priority

The government has announced strict criteria for early vaccinations with sportspeople among those eligible to apply.

Those most immediately affected will be athletes who're selected to compete at July's Tokyo Olympics.

Several national sporting bodies, including the New Zealand Olympic Committee, have been lobbying the government for athletes to be given preferential treatment.

The secretary general of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith said they're they're grateful for the decision but it won't be mandatory for athletes to get the jab.

Vanuatu Opposition calls on govt to speed up vaccine introduction

This comes as Vanuatu's Speaker of Parliament called the House to meet next month for its first extra-ordinary session of the year

The Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu raised concern that the government hadn't put the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine for approval in Vanuatu on the session's agenda.

Regenvanu said countries in the Pacific had their vaccine but not Vanuatu, and that Prime Minister Bob Loughman should stop delaying.

Under Parliament Standing Orders, the House could only debate an agenda cited in the calling document.

Solomons vaccine rollout to begin Wednesday

At the weekend, 24-thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, supplied through Covax facility, arrived in the Solomons.

The country's prime minister Manasseh Sogavare, gave a national update confirming the rollout will launch at the central field hospital which he said was best equipped for mass vaccinations.

He urged all people over eighteen years of age to get vaccinated when a health team comes to their area.

Qantas boss: Governments 'to insist' on vaccines for flying

Coronavirus vaccines are seen as crucial to reviving an industry that saw worldwide passenger numbers fall 75.6% last year.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said many governments were talking about vaccination as "a condition of entry".

Even if they weren't, he thought the airline should enforce its own policy.

"We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew, to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe," Mr Joyce said.

He believes that would justify changing the terms and conditions on which tickets are booked.

Pasifika health providers pivotal in vaccine roll-out says Aupito

The first priority group included border and managed isolation quarantine workers and their household contacts.

The second priority group are front-line health workers and people living in high-risk settings such as older people in South Auckland, people in residential care and older people particularly Māori and Pacific.

Aupito William Sio told RNZ Pacific that providers have trusted relationships with the communities they serve, and they will be able to identify and vaccinate the Pasifika elderly in their regions.

Biden eyes 4 July as ‘Independence Day’ from virus

In his first primetime address as president, Mr Biden said he would order states to make all adults eligible for vaccinations by 1 May.

Current measures prioritise people by age or health condition.

His speech comes a year to the day the outbreak was classified as a pandemic. Half a million Americans have died.

Last March, all US major sport was cancelled and actor Tom Hanks announced he had caught the virus. Then-President Donald Trump suspended travel from Europe, and also said he hoped the US would be open again for Easter.

Fiji announces vaccination registration and rollout

This was announced by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong.

Over the weekend,12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Fiji, making it the first Pacific island country to get vaccines through the Covax scheme.

Dr Fong said registering now would make work easier for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services while vaccines would continue to arrive in batches into the country.