Over 18,000 people are fully vaccinated in Tonga

Ministry of Health CEO, Dr Siale 'Akau'ola confirmed that 18,712 people have now been fully vaccinated.

This is 65% of the 28,841 people who have received their first dose of the vaccine.

The second roll out in the communities runs until August 31.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is hoping to receive more COVID-19 vaccines for the remainder of the target (70%) population this year.

Dr 'Akau'ola is in Vava'u where the outer island vaccine roll-out starts this week.


Covid vaccine: Why are Australians cancelling AstraZeneca jabs?

It comes after the government updated guidance last week to recommend only those aged over 60 get the shot, due to the risk of a rare blood-clotting syndrome.

Under-60s have been advised to get the alternative Pfizer shot, of which there are limited supplies.

Turning down any vaccine - and AstraZeneca is the world's most widely used one - may seem remarkable to other nations still battling rampant Covid.

Pacific countries press ahead with AstraZeneca rollout

That is despite several European countries and Australia limiting its use because of safety concerns.

In Australia, the Pfizer vaccine is now the preferred option for people under 50, Britain is offering an alternative for those under 30 while France and Belgium recommend AstraZeneca be given to those 55 and over.

European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine and a rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.