24 Mar 2021

Vanuatu Opposition calls on govt to speed up vaccine introduction

8:41 am on 24 March 2021

Vanuatu's government is being encouraged by the Opposition to expedite approval of a Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu

Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu Photo: Supplied

This comes as Vanuatu's Speaker of Parliament called the House to meet next month for its first extra-ordinary session of the year

The Opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu raised concern that the government hadn't put the introduction of a Covid-19 vaccine for approval in Vanuatu on the session's agenda.

Regenvanu said countries in the Pacific had their vaccine but not Vanuatu, and that Prime Minister Bob Loughman should stop delaying.

Under Parliament Standing Orders, the House could only debate an agenda cited in the calling document.

Reganvanu said the Opposition would work with the government on any vaccine bill.

He Regenvanu said the country was currently facing financial and economic problems due to the coronavirus crisis and the introduction of vaccines would help Vanuatu reopen its borders.

The country remained Covid-free, having reported just three cases at the border since the pandemic emerged.

First case was a ni-Vanuatu who contracted the virus in the US. The new cases involved two foreign nationals who tested positive this month.

They were still in the isolation ward at the Port Vila Central Hospital.