The consignment of 100,000 doses of Made in India Covishield (AstraZeneca) vaccines was formally handed over to the Honourable Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama at the Nadi International Airport, last night.
These vaccines are supplied by the Government of India through grant assistance in appreciation of the friendship and solidarity between the two nations. This is in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help partner countries in the fight against COVID pandemic.
Speaking at this occasion, Prime Minister Bainimarama conveyed Fiji’s appreciation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as the Indian High Commission in Fiji for the timely support and commitment in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In a bleak year for multi-lateralism, you have helped put a welcome pause on the pandemic politics that have kept valuable vaccines in the world’s largest and richest countries – your leadership will not be forgotten.
“These vaccines have been produced by the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India. Together, with AstraZeneca, more than 600 million doses of Made-in-India vaccines have been distributed to more than 70 countries. These COVID-19 vaccines are the same vaccines that Fiji procured through the COVAX facility – another initiative working hard to see our people protected.
Prime Minister Bainimarama said the latest data on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine show that it is both safe and highly effective and that Fiji has successfully administered more than 6,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Fiji will accept nothing less. The world’s brightest minds went into creating and testing this life-saving vaccine, and as millions have gotten this shot, it’s safe to say many thousands of deaths have already been prevented. As a vaccine recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, it has met Fiji’s high standards.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama said this next batch of doses will go immediately towards protecting the remainder of our frontliners; our doctors, nurses, quarantine and hotel workers, and members of our Disciplined Forces. As well as it will also kick-start the second phase of our vaccine roll-out, which will include the more vulnerable segments of our population.
In addition the Prime Minister stated that Fiji will receive another shipment of 90,000 doses in the coming weeks, and we look forward to working with our development partners on a bilateral basis to secure the many more shipments of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
“Particularly, we will be looking to those nations that have a surplus of vaccines and which have the production rights and capacity to produce these medical marvels.
“My friends, in Fiji, India, and around the world, hope is on the horizon. Only together, can we truly get our lives back by winning the war against this virus. Fiji has followed the best available medical advice from day one of this pandemic. Tonight, we take another step in line with the science and in solidarity with the world as we play our part to build humanity’s immunity to COVID-19.”
Acting High Commissioner at the Indian High Commission in Fiji, Mr. Saifullah Khan said, “India and Fiji share longstanding partnership based on mutual respect, cooperation and cultural ties. Fiji is an important partner for realising the Indo-Pacific vision that envisages a free, open and inclusive region in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity.
“The supply of these vaccines marks another milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries. The arrival of the vaccines will help Fiji in rolling out its National Immunisation Programme and in achieving the goals and aspirations of Fiji’s recovery plan. India has, so far, provided over 63 million doses of vaccines to 76 countries and to UN health peacekeepers and workers, as part of its Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine Friendship) initiative, as gifts and on commercial basis as well as through GAVI’s COVAX facility,” Mr Khan said.