Kiribati + 1 more

Japan supports Kiribati with COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility

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© UNICEFPacific/2021/Tikoisuva

56,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured in Japan, were handed over to the Ministry of Health in Kiribati on 21 August to strengthen Kiribati’s vaccination rollout.

“These vaccines will certainly go a long way in protecting our people from the potential risks of COVID-19, particularly the most vulnerable. I acknowledge that this vaccine donation will contribute to the immunity that we are beginning to attain from COVID-19. As a global health issue, I am pleased to note the strong interest of our partners in providing safe and effective vaccines for our people, which is warmly received and appreciated by the Government and people of Kiribati,” said the Minister of Line and Phoenix Island Development in Kiribati, Hon. Mikarite Temari.

“Based on Japan’s close friendship with Kiribati over the years, as well as on its commitment to enhance Kiribati’s resilience against COVID-19, Japan has decided to provide vaccines manufactured in Japan to Kiribati. I’m confident that this assistance will further strengthen the friendship between the government and people of Kiribati and Japan,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Kiribati, H.E. KAWAKAMI Fumihiro.

In addition to these vaccines, which will be a new milestone of Japan’s support to Kiribati, Japan has also supported the Pacific Island country through its Official Development Assistance including the bilateral grant worth AUD3.4 million for the procurement of medical equipment last year. Additionally, Japan has extended its support through international organisations such as UNICEF.

Japan highly commends the leadership of the Kiribati Government which has enabled effective COVID-19 prevention measures. In addition, this assistance will support Kiribati in its response against COVID-19 as well as in making headway towards its wider economic recovery.

“We thank the Government of Japan for this generous support, which will provide access to COVID-19 vaccines and protect communities in Kiribati,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, (a.i.), Vathinee Jitjaturunt. “UNICEF is proud to deliver these vaccines through the COVAX Facility into one of the most remote countries in the world and will continue to support the Government of Kiribati to keep children, families and communities safe during this global pandemic.”

"These vaccines, generously provided by the Government of Japan through the COVAX mechanism, will provide a critical boost to the Government to Kiribati's vaccine rollout, allowing greater population access, including across many of the outer islands,” said WHO Country Liaison Officer for Kiribati, Dr. Wendy Snowdon.

As the co-host of the COVAX Vaccine Summit on 2 June 2021, Japan announced that it will contribute an additional USD800 million to COVAX, on top of the USD200 million already contributed. Japan also announced that they will supply vaccines manufactured in Japan to other countries and regions. At the PALM9 held on 2 July 2021, Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. SUGA Yoshihide, announced that Japan intends to provide a total of approximately three million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Pacific Island Forum countries.

The COVID-19 vaccines were received by the Government of Kiribati from the Government of Japan through the COVAX Facility – a partnership co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO), with UNICEF as the key delivery partner.

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Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact:

Peni Saurara, Embassy of Japan in Fiji, +679 3304633, peni.saurara@fj.mofa.go.jp or eojeconomics@fj.mofa.go.jp

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Lauren O’Connor, WHO, Tel: +679 7779733, oconnorl@who.int