There is still no news as to when Niue is likely to receive the COVID 19 vaccine that is currently being rolled out in New Zealand.
BCN news contacted the Office of the Premier yesterday for a comment and received an email with the Premier saying that “Niue falls under New Zealand’s COVAX agreement so it’s a little different from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji – who have their own direct arrangements.”
Premier Tagelagi says that “The roll out of the vaccine for Niue will be guided by NZ and that the Niue Health Official and Office of the Secretary to Government are currently working on a rollout plan”.
However, BCN news is aware that prominent Niuean doctor Colin Tukuitoga has been lobbying hard in New Zealand for the Realm countries Niue, Cook Islands and Tokelau to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
Last month Premier Tagelagi told ‘News of the week’ radio program that he has been lobbying for the smaller populated islands like Niue to be prioritised for the COVID 19 vaccine.
In October last year, BCN news spoke with New Zealand specialist in vaccinology Dr. Helen Petousis-Harris who said that Niue and other NZ Realm countries will likely receive the vaccines around the middle of this year, also echoed by the Director-General of Social Services Gaylene Tasmania.
On Monday this week the Minister of Health and Social Services Sauni Tongatule told the gathering at the International Women’s Day that he as the Minister of Health has also made his feelings known to Premier Tagelagi that Niue should be prioritised for the vaccine.
Meanwhile, there is still no set date yet on the quarantine-free travel (QFT) for Niue passengers to New Zealand.
Yesterday the government through the Immigration Office reiterated the requirement on the travel restriction with Travel Advisory number 10 dated 1st March.
The advisory states that Niue’s borders remain closed to all travelers unless there is an exemption provided in writing by the Chief Immigration Officer. Each traveler must have spent at least 14 days in NZ prior to entry into Niue.
All travelers must register their intentions to travel to Niue with the Office of the Secretary to Government and must provide negative COVID 19 test results within 4 working days prior to leaving Auckland.
BCN News understands that the National Disaster Council will be meeting this afternoon to update on the border processes and procedures as well as the preparations for quarantine-free travel.