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The COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility — more commonly known as COVAX — is one of the most important tools the world has at its disposal when it comes to tackling COVID-19. The initiative works by pooling resources and funds from wealthy countries to ensure nation’s that can’t afford COVID-19 vaccines have equitable access. Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals, including goal 3 for good health and well-being. Join the movement and take action on this issue and more here.

Twelve thousand COVID-19 vaccines arrived at Fiji’s Nadi International Airport last weekend in a historic first for the region.

The vaccines are the first to be shipped into the Pacific through the COVAX Facility, an unparalleled partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and UNICEF that aims to ensure equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution around the world.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the shipment had provided a “light at the end of the tunnel” for all Fijians.

"These vaccines represent more than the way back to normal life; they are the shot of life our economy, our industries and thousands of Fijian breadwinners need,” he said in a WHO news release. “It is about bringing back jobs, reconnecting families across borders and reclaiming Fiji’s rightful place in the world.” 

The vaccine shipment will be distributed among 6,000 Fijian frontline health care and border quarantine workers and select aviation, maritime and immigration staff.

A further 96,000 COVAX Facility-supplied vaccines are expected to arrive in the nation in the coming months. 

UNICEF Pacific Representative Sheldon Yett applauded Fiji for working “incredibly hard” to advance its health systems in preparation for the vaccine’s arrival.

"The successful arrival of these vaccines is the product of global solidarity and partnership, and a recognition that we need to vaccinate those on the front lines of the pandemic, and the most vulnerable, in every corner of the world to ensure that all corners of the world are safe,” Yett stated. “We thank the government of Fiji for their leadership and our partners for making this possible.”

In the past few months, Fiji’s health ministry has identified priority populations, taught medical staff how to administer the vaccine safely and developed an online portal where people can register for the vaccine and officials can track the progress of the nationwide rollout.

The first COVID-19 immunisations began in the island nation Wednesday morning. 


Defeat Poverty

Fiji Becomes First Pacific Nation to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines From COVAX

By Madeleine Keck