29 Jul 2021

Fiji set to get vaccines from NZ following Medsafe approval

3:59 pm on 29 July 2021

Half a million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will soon be on its way to Fiji after approval from New Zealand's medical authority.

The Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) today granted provisional approval of the Covid-19 vaccine for people aged 18 and older.

No caption

Acting Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said the first delivery could arrive in Fiji by late August. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

While Cabinet is yet to consider whether to use the AstraZeneca vaccine in New Zealand, it will allow donations to Pacific countries.

Covid-19 continues to run rampant in Fiji to whom New Zealand has pledged 500,000 doses of the vaccine.

Fiji's government says it needs to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population to meet the World Health Organisation's target of herd immunity.

Fiji now has over 19-thousand positive people in isolation, with the death toll well past 200 and a health system on its knees.

New Zealand secured enough doses for 3.8 million people through an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca last year.

Acting Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said officials were working with the company to confirm delivery schedules, and the first delivery could arrive by late August.

Fiji is expected to receive the vaccine then, after Cabinet approval of course.

Verrall said New Zealand's vaccination plan remained focused on the Pfizer vaccine, which would be available to all in the country who wished to have one by the end of 2021.