Covid-19 vaccines

Tourism body wants islands to get vaccine access

With tourism a leading employer and economic pillar for many of the small states, the United Nations agency said pledges to ensure 'nobody was left behind' had to be backed up with firm actions.

It said that given the relatively small size of the populations in the small island states the cost of mass vaccinations will be minimal compared to the potential benefits of restarting tourism.

Top athletes get COVID-19 vaccination priority

The government has announced strict criteria for early vaccinations with sportspeople among those eligible to apply.

Those most immediately affected will be athletes who're selected to compete at July's Tokyo Olympics.

Several national sporting bodies, including the New Zealand Olympic Committee, have been lobbying the government for athletes to be given preferential treatment.

The secretary general of the New Zealand Olympic Committee Kereyn Smith said they're they're grateful for the decision but it won't be mandatory for athletes to get the jab.

Solomons vaccine rollout to begin Wednesday

At the weekend, 24-thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, supplied through Covax facility, arrived in the Solomons.

The country's prime minister Manasseh Sogavare, gave a national update confirming the rollout will launch at the central field hospital which he said was best equipped for mass vaccinations.

He urged all people over eighteen years of age to get vaccinated when a health team comes to their area.

Qantas boss: Governments 'to insist' on vaccines for flying

Coronavirus vaccines are seen as crucial to reviving an industry that saw worldwide passenger numbers fall 75.6% last year.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said many governments were talking about vaccination as "a condition of entry".

Even if they weren't, he thought the airline should enforce its own policy.

"We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew, to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe," Mr Joyce said.

He believes that would justify changing the terms and conditions on which tickets are booked.

Pasifika health providers pivotal in vaccine roll-out says Aupito

The first priority group included border and managed isolation quarantine workers and their household contacts.

The second priority group are front-line health workers and people living in high-risk settings such as older people in South Auckland, people in residential care and older people particularly Māori and Pacific.

Aupito William Sio told RNZ Pacific that providers have trusted relationships with the communities they serve, and they will be able to identify and vaccinate the Pasifika elderly in their regions.

Biden eyes 4 July as ‘Independence Day’ from virus

In his first primetime address as president, Mr Biden said he would order states to make all adults eligible for vaccinations by 1 May.

Current measures prioritise people by age or health condition.

His speech comes a year to the day the outbreak was classified as a pandemic. Half a million Americans have died.

Last March, all US major sport was cancelled and actor Tom Hanks announced he had caught the virus. Then-President Donald Trump suspended travel from Europe, and also said he hoped the US would be open again for Easter.

Fiji announces vaccination registration and rollout

This was announced by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong.

Over the weekend,12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrived in Fiji, making it the first Pacific island country to get vaccines through the Covax scheme.

Dr Fong said registering now would make work easier for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services while vaccines would continue to arrive in batches into the country.

Fiji first Pacific country to benefit from COVAX Covid-19 Vaccines

About 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was sent to Fiji by the UN Children's Fund as part of the World Health Organisation's COVAX initiative.

The Fiji government said while the vaccine cost them $US30 million, AstraZeneca was ideal for the country's storage capability.

At least 600,000 Fijians need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to ensure the country is protected against infection, the government said.

It said about 6,000 front-line and essential workers would be the first to receive the jabs

Pacific athletes urged to get vaccinated

The Summer Games are scheduled to begin on 23 July, after being delayed by 12 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The International Olympic Committee said vaccination is "encouraged" but not compulsory for athletes.

Guam, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, American Samoa, Australia and New Zealand have begun vaccination programs in recent months.

Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) President, Dr Robin Mitchell, said if athletes had the option of receiving the vaccine they should take it.

Covid: Italy 'blocks' AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia

The decision affects 250,000 doses of the vaccine produced at an AstraZeneca facility in Italy.

Italy is the first EU country to use the bloc's new regulations allowing exports to be stopped if the company providing the vaccines has failed to meet its obligations to the EU.

The move has been backed by the European Commission, reports say.

AstraZeneca is on track to provide only 40% of the agreed supply to member states in the first three months of the year. It has cited production problems for the shortfall.