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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says Pacific countries covered under the COVAX arrangement will have until next week to finalise their regulatory paper work and approval process so orders for the COVID-19 vaccine can be made with suppliers in Europe.
The WHO's Incident Manager for the Pacific Dr Angela Merianos said the vaccine rollout could start in coming months depending on the approval process in individual countries.
“Countries have been given an indication that they need to start providing this information by 22 February so the process of procurement for the vaccine can start,” she said.
COVAX is an international arrangement that allows low income countries to access the COVID-19 vaccine and has committed to covering 20 per cent of people in those countries.
While most Pacific countries are part of the COVAX arrangement, the U.S and French government have already rolled out vaccines to their territories in the Pacific.
Dr Merianos said details are still being worked out on when countries, under COVAX, will get enough vaccines to cover 20 percent of their populations.
She said things like customs clearance, approval by regulators and authorisation needs to be made by governments before the vaccines arrive.
While COVAX will cover 20 percent of the population, Pacific countries will need to supplement this through arrangement with donors and partner countries.
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