Healthcare facilities in Kiribati to benefit from ultra-cold chain equipment to support deployment of Pfizer vaccines – Kiribati

Tarawa, Kiribati June 23, 2022– Today, the Government of Japan, in collaboration with UNICEF, handed over three ultra-cold chain refrigerators to the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services to support the nationwide rollout of the vaccine.

“This donation comes at the right time for Kiribati, as the establishment of the UCC infrastructure is underway to accommodate sensitive vaccines for use for our 12-17 year olds and those eligible for booster doses,” said said the director of public health. , Eretii Timeon. “The MHMS is very grateful for the generous donations of this essential equipment and wishes to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Government of Japan and UNICEF for the technical support,” she added.

The ultra-cold chain equipment is the first of its kind to enter the country to support the introduction of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines which arrived in Kiribati last month. These Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines require an ultra low temperature ranging from -60°C to -90°C.

These Pfizer vaccines will be given as a booster dose to people aged 18 and over. In addition, the vaccines will also target children aged 12 to 17 as well as those aged 12 and over who will be eligible for a booster in the coming months.

“UNICEF commends Kiribati for the progress made in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and encourages those who have already received their first and second doses to get their booster to protect themselves, their children and their communities,” said the head of the UNICEF Pacific field office in Kiribati. , Nick Rice Chudeau. “We thank the government and people of Japan for the strong partnership that ensures vital medical supplies also reach one of the most remote islands in the Pacific. We also thank the Department of Health and Medical Services for their leadership and efforts to keep communities safe. »

With technical support provided by UNICEF, two of the ultra-cold chain refrigerators have already been installed at Tungaru Central Hospital in South Tarawa, while one has been shipped to Kiritimati Island to meet the needs of the eligible population of the Line and Phoenix districts. In addition, two backup generators will also be provided to the Department of Health and Medical Services to act as backup power for ultra-cold chain equipment, in the event of a power outage on the islands.

“First of all, we would like to express our sympathy to the people of Kiribati who have been affected by the drought. Although Kiribati also faces the same threats of COVID-19 as the rest of the world, we are very pleased to be able to provide rapid support to the country, in partnership with UNICEF. We are confident that the ultra-low temperature refrigerators provided this time will help Pfizer and other vaccines that require ultra-low temperature storage in Kiribati,” said His Excellency Mr. KAWAKAMI Fumihiro, Ambassador of the Japan to the Republic of Kiribati.

“Since the beginning of 2021, Japan has placed importance on providing cold chain equipment worldwide. This initiative is called “Last One Mile Support” which ensures the delivery of vaccines to vaccination sites so that COVID-19 vaccines reach every person. This is one of Japan’s important supports related to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he added.

Ambassador KAWAKAMI also said that he wished to convey his deepest condolences and sympathy to the people of Kiribati who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 as well as all the pain and suffering caused by the pandemic. He commends the leadership of His Excellency, President Taneti Maamau, and the Government of Kiribati for effectively guiding the nation through these trying times.

UNICEF stands ready to continue its support on the ground, with funding from Japan and other partners, to ensure that health workers receive the training and vital information they need to work with the equipment. of the newly provided cold chain, as well as to support the deployment of vaccines.

Notes to editors:

About the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services:

The Department of Health and Medical Services is chairing a national COVAX committee as part of its key role in coordinating, planning and implementing the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccination. This committee does not limit its communication and collaboration to key development partners currently assisting with COVID-19 immunization coordination and planning, which includes MFAT, DFAT, Chinese Embassy and partners. technical partners such as UNICEF and WHO, but also communicates with other development and technical partners who wish to help ensure the achievement of the targeted COVID-19 vaccination mission in Kiribati. This national committee is linked to the COVAX facility through GAVI, to ensure that Kiribati submits proposals to seek funding and technical support for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and to support deployment logistics. adapted to the setting and environment of Kiribati.

About the Government of Japan:

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian aid, in the form of official development assistance (ODA) to eligible countries and regions . ODA includes bilateral aid intended to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consists of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP and WHO.

For more information please contact:

Ms Ema TaareitaOIC, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, +686 740 28100, and/or

Ms Eretii TimeonDirector of Public Health Services, +686 740 28100,

Peni SauraraJapanese Embassy in Fiji, +679 3304633, or

Emma TemakeiUNICEF Pacific, Tel. : +686 752 29269,

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