The British High Commission welcomes the start of COVID-19 vaccinations in Fiji today and congratulates the Fijian government on the speed at which is moving ahead with the first stages of its vaccination campaign, following the arriving of 12,000 doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Fiji on 6 March.
British High Commissioner, H.E. George Edgar, said:
This is a huge step on Fiji’s road to recovery from the effects of the Pandemic. As Prime Minister Bainimarama has said, these vaccines represent more than the way back to normal life; they will help boost Fiji’s economy and will help reconnect families separated by borders. No one is safe until we’re all safe, and that’s why the UK is supporting the GAVI. The Vaccine Alliance and their COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which aims to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines so that lower and middle income countries are not left behind.
The UK has led an international effort to get one billion vaccines to the most vulnerable and was one of the first countries to back COVAX with FJ$1.5bn committed. Our total funding to support the global response to the coronavirus pandemic in developing countries so far comes to FJ$3.6bn. We have provided around FJ$5m directly to the World Health Organisation to help Pacific countries prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
The UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt. Hon Matt Hancock MP, has said it is vital that countries work together to find global solutions:
I’m so pleased to see our Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – which is having such a positive impact here at home – play such a vital role in saving lives around the world. We want to see it used wherever it can save lives, billions of doses of the Oxford vaccine will be the mainstay of global access.
Fiji is expected to receive 100,800 doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as its initial provision under COVAX.