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Japan and UNICEF partnership to support cold chain in Samoa for efficient deployment of COVID-19 vaccines

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Apia, 29 March 2021 – UNICEF welcomes a USD 140,000 Emergency Grant Aid from the Government and people of Japan that will strengthen the vaccine cold chain, and support the Government of Samoa’s logistics capacity, to address the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Japan is very much committed to assist the Government of Samoa’s preparatory and response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the international concerted efforts, we are glad to have this opportunity to support the Government of Samoa, through UNICEF, to provide transportation as ‘last one-mile support’ to ensure vaccination in Samoa,” said H.E. Mr. Genichi Terasawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Samoa.

This Emergency Grant Aid is additional funding to the ongoing assistance from Japan through the Economic and Social Development Programme (ESDP) of USD 1.38 million, which will be used for Samoa to procure medical equipment including ultra-low temperature freezers. In addition, for the equitable access to vaccines for Pacific Island Countries and developing countries globally, so far, Japan has announced its financial contribution of USD 200 million to the COVAX Facility.

UNICEF has been working with Pacific governments to help prevent the spread of the virus among communities, as well as supporting the vital procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.

This grant will be used for the procurement of appropriate vehicles to provide logistical support to efficiently deliver COVID-19 vaccines to health facilities. The fund will enhance the Government of Samoa’s vaccination effort, in the context of achieving universal health coverage, as well as help to strengthen the management of equipment during the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines over a 12-month period between 2021–22.

“We thank the Government of Japan for its continued and strengthened partnership with UNICEF to support Samoa through the global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We will continue to work with the Government of Samoa, WHO and other partners, to ensure their health system is well prepared to respond appropriately to the on-going threat of this pandemic.”

Notes to Editors:

* This funding is part of the broader Japanese Emergency Grant Aid of approximately USD 41 million to 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and the Pacific (approximately USD 9 million to 10 Pacific Island Countries). The 25 countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

About the Government of Japan:

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies that are useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian assistance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to eligible countries and regions. ODA includes bilateral aid to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consist of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO.

For more information, please contact:

**Helen Puni-Chang, **Embassy of Japan in Apia, Tel: +68521187, helen.chang@ap.mofa.go.jp

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