SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- Over one hundred and fifty thousand life-saving doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Fiji through the COVAX Facility. The donation aims to assist Fiji in its fight against COVID-19. Today’s shipment is part of the 80 million doses of vaccine that President Biden committed from the U.S. vaccine supply to support global needs.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the arrival, Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) Tony Greubel said “Thanks to the ingenuity of American scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people, we’re in a position to help others.”
The vaccine dose donation follows a May response by the U.S. Government to the Government of Fiji’s request for critical assistance needed to confront the evolving COVID-19 situation in Fiji. In partnership with UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) quickly redirected funding to procure vital infection prevention and control items for Fiji’s Ministry of Health. The vaccines also follow the U.S. donation of 42 freezers to provide storage space for large quantities of vaccine as well as freezer packs, which will allow for the easy transportation of vaccines to inoculation sites. This donation was funded by the United States Indo-Pacific Command’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid program.
In addition, CDA Greubel also launched a new $1.5 million partnership between the USAID and UNICEF to support countries in the Pacific Islands region, including Fiji, to combat COVID-19 on July 14, 2021. USAID assistance will focus on readiness, delivery, and post-delivery monitoring of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, as well as support effective public messaging around vaccinations.
USAID recently announced new work with the local group, Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (FRIEND), to support technical skills training and livelihood options for people in Fiji’s tourism industry who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The people of the United States and its government are committed to working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has provided $35 million in direct COVID-19 relief and recovery assistance to the Pacific Islands region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States government has also contributed $2 billion to Gavi in support of COVAX’s purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle- income countries. This makes the United States one of the largest single financial donor supporting COVAX. The U.S. contribution for COVAX is supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers.
President Biden recently said that “We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic.”