NZ pledges paediatric Pfizer vaccines for Fiji


50,000 doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccines will be provided to Fiji with the support from the New Zealand government.

At the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, visiting New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta announced that her cabinet has approved to provide the vaccines to Fiji.

Mahuta said for many Pacific countries including Fiji, responding to COVID wasn’t easy.

She said one of the aspects of response by New Zealand was to be able to provide vaccinations to Pacific island neighbours.

“And that we supported a roll out but also medical equipment in a time of need. I just want to say my appreciation to the many health workers who ensured that you (Fiji) now have 96 percent vaccination rate which is significant and now you (Fiji) is working towards rolling out pediatric doses.”

Mahuta said the support of the pediatric Pfizer vaccines will also include 50,000 Rapid Antigen Tests to help in the ongoing response against COVID-19 and ensure that Fijians are cared for.

The Minister also unveiled a 14-foot whakairo (carving) plaque that has been on display at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for 45 years without name, story or recognition of its maker.

It was also an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the carving, and to give recognition to its maker – Master Carver Hone Taiapa.

Mahuta said the plaque is a way of also rededicating New Zealand’s support for the Pacific Islands Forum, and Pacific regionalism.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Ministry of Health has confirmed no changes have been made to the laws regarding the importation of things such as fruit juice into the country.

This follows claims by some traders who are saying extra requirements are now needed to import these products and results in paying extra costs to get testing done.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said he is not aware of the issue.

“Not that I know of any new laws concerning juice. I just saw briefly that it was being discussed, but the team has not briefed me on what is really happening around juice”.

The traders claim they have been importing the same product for the past three years, but this is the first time a test requirement has been put in place.

They claim they had not been consulted before the change in the requirements came into effect.

However, the health ministry has reiterated that test results need to be presented upon request.

All the food items and juices that are imported to the country must meet the requirements outlined in the Food and Safety Regulations 2009.