Covid-19 vaccines

Tonga receives additional AstraZeneca vaccines

This is the third provision of Japan made AstraZeneca vaccines following the donation of 26,800 doses in August and 7,000 doses in December 2021.

These AstraZeneca vaccines will enable Tonga to achieve their target of vaccinating 70 percent of a total population.

The Government of Japan hopes that all eligible people will be fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

A statement said the Government of Japan is continuously committed to assist Tonga for their vaccination work as well as recovery effort from the volcanic eruption and tsunami in various ways.


Fiji receives last batch of COVID-19 vaccines from Australia

Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes said they have been able to surpass their initial commitment for the AstraZeneca jabs.

“And we’re here today to announce that we’ve delivered almost 1.1 million vaccines in the six months. But it doesn’t end here as our support for Fiji will continue”

Fiji’s Minister of Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the donation enabled Fiji to vaccinate more than 50 percent of the target population against COVID-19.

NRL refuses to mandate Covid-19 vaccine

On the same day the AFL mandated its players to be vaccinated by mid-February, Abdo took a slightly different approach.

The NRL has been grappling with mandatory vaccinations since the resumption of the 2020 season when several high-profile players including Bryce Cartwright, Josh Papalii and Joseph Tapine expressed reluctance to receive the flu shot.

Despite many businesses and rival codes mandating employees to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, Abdo said the NRL would leave it up to the players.

New Caledonia chief demands halt to vaccines

Henri Dokucas Naisseline said the vaccination obligation deprives people of fundamental rights of freedom and respect for human dignity.

The high chief of the Gaumha district on the island of Mare has decided to stop the vaccination drive in all the tribes under his control, suggesting the vaccine is dangerous.

However, he said those who wish to get the vaccine can still get it.

In August, the government launched an inoculation campaign in the mainly Kanak Loyalty Islands, called Vacci'tribs, in the hope of vaccinating 80 percent of the population by January.

43% of Tonga’s target population fully vaccinated

The Ministry of Health confirmed that the figure represented 43% of the targeted population of 63,128 aged over 18.

It also included the 1,984 of frontliners who have received their second dose.

There are 1,304 people currently overdue for their second dose.

At least 45,879 people have been inoculated with their first dose to date.

Meanwhile, Ha'apai has reached 72% of its target for first dose vaccinations with 2,795 people inoculated.


Tongans urged to get vaccinated

Vaiola Hospital Acting Superintendent, Dr 'Ana 'Akau'ola stressed the importance of getting inoculated for COVID-19 and explained the amount of resources needed to look after a critically ill person.

She said ““For one person in ICU, around six nurses are needed to look after that one person, in one shift. We probably do around 8-12 hourly shifts. So that’s a big job for the Ministry of Health.”

“It takes less work to roll out the vaccination program in towns and outer islands currently underway.”

Most popular Facebook link in US spread vaccine doubt

The piece - updated after a report said there was no proven link to the vaccine - was popular with vaccine sceptics.

The New York Times claimed that Facebook initially held back its report because it would "look bad".

Facebook said the delay was in order to make "key fixes".

The company had already published its "Widely Viewed Content" report for the second quarter of 2021, in which it found a word search promising to reveal "your reality" was the most popular post.

Similarly frivolous "question posts" formed most of the top 20.

Pfizer becomes first Covid vaccine to gain full FDA approval

The vaccine had initially been given emergency use authorisation. Its two jabs, three weeks apart, are now fully approved for those aged 16 and older.

The approval is expected to set off more vaccine mandates by employers and organisations across the country.

It comes amid lingering vaccine hesitancy among many Americans.

In a statement, the FDA said its review for approval included data from approximately 44,000 people. The vaccine, which will now be marketed as Comirnaty, was found to be 91% effective in preventing Covid disease.

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.


Russia offers North Korea Covid vaccines again as crisis worsens

Pyongyang has refused vaccines and aid from a number of countries.

It has instead sealed borders to try and keep the virus out but that has affected trade with China. It relies on Beijing for food, fertiliser and fuel.

Kim Jong-un has acknowledged that the country is facing food shortages, describing the situation as "tense".

He made the comments last month and also told citizens to prepare for the "worst ever outcome" which has invoked comparisons to a deadly famine in the 1990s.