Tonga receives more Pfizer vaccine doses

Australia has provided 54,990 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to Tonga as part of a partnership with UNICEF to support the country’s national vaccine rollout.

“This is indeed timely and needed assistance. We have been preparing the Cold Chain Storage and eagerly awaited the vaccines’ arrival. We are thankful to the Government of Australia for this timely assistance since the Pfizer Vaccines have just finished. Our teams are prepared to deploy the vaccines so our people are better protected. This is not the first time Australia has helped and we look forward to your continued support in future. Thank you also to UNICEF for its key role in facilitating the logistics and necessary training so that we are ready for deployment” said Dr. Saia Piukala, Minister of Health.

Tonga is currently experiencing their first Covid-19 outbreak, making the arrival of these vaccines all the more important.

“Australia is proud to have supported Tonga’s Covid-19 preparation over the previous two years, which included prepositioning over 2.6 tonnes of Covid-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 50 oxygen concentrators in 2021. The long-standing links between Australia and Tonga have enabled us to work together to respond quickly to Tonga’s priorities since the Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption, tsunami and Covid-19 outbreak. These vaccines are the latest step in Australia’s support, that has included over 16 flights cumulatively carrying more than 360 tonnes of humanitarian, reconstruction and medical supplies. Since the outbreak, Australia has brought in another 5 tonnes of PPE, Rapid Antigen Tests, Covid-19 specific medical equipment (including an additional 24 oxygen concentrators), consumables and pharmaceuticals. Through the deployment of HMAS ADELAIDE, SUPPLY and CANBERRA Australia was proud to support the Ministry of Health vaccine teams to provide boosters across the Ha’apai Island Group (including Nomuka, ‘O’ua, Matuku, Pangai, Tungua, Kotu, Fonoifua, Fotuha’a, Mo’unga’one and Ha’afeva). Australia hopes these vaccines will help the people of Tonga return to normalcy, reuniting loved ones and bringing an end to several years of hardship” said Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga, Rachael Moore.

“UNICEF is pleased that we are able to provide timely support to the strong efforts by the Government and front-line health workers to keep the virus at bay,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “We thank the Government of Australia for the enduring and strong partnership to ensure communities, especially the most vulnerable and children, are protected from the threats posed by Covid-19.”

These doses of Pfizer vaccines will be used in the Kingdom’s Covid-19 booster programme. 47% of those aged 18 years and above have already received a booster dose. These vaccines will enable the Ministry of Health to continue to expand their booster campaign to comprehensively cover the Kingdom of Tonga, ensuring that everyone can access boosters, including those in the outer islands.

Australia and UNICEF would like to acknowledge the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, through the Ministry of Health, for its vision and leadership in all of its vaccination programmes. This has been vital to the successful introduction and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines in the country.

Australia, UNICEF, and the Kingdom of Tonga will continue working together to save lives, build strong and resilient health systems and advance economic recovery from Covid-19.


Photo file Reuters