During his speech at the Makefu show day on Saturday, the Deputy New Zealand High Commissioner Nigel Ewels made the announcement that late last week it was confirmed that the roll-out of the vaccines for Niue will begin in early June.
“I acknowledge some of the frustrations of the people including Premier Dalton Tagelagi in terms of the delay in the roll-out but I confirm that Niue and NZ officials have been working very hard together to address the planning issues and the various challenges in getting the vaccines up here” said Mr Ewels.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi had last week expressed his disappointment at Wellingtons announcement on Wednesday that Niue will wait for about 6 weeks when the vaccination roll out will be completed in the Cook Islands before the Pfizer vaccine will be rolled out in Niue.
Today, Premier Tagelagi told BCN news that he is very pleased that the NZ officials have accepted the original time-frame as agreed earlier for early June.
“I’m pleased and I’m happy that they realised what I had said in my press release, my confusion over the timeline they set which was six weeks after the Cook Islands which was a bit of a worry for me because that means we won’t be starting until July”
BCN news last week sent questions to Wellington officials who responded saying “There are a number of steps we need to work through to ensure Niue is ready to do this. These steps take time and it is important that we work in partnership to complete them.
“To this end officials from Niue have been meeting with New Zealand counterparts to advance preparations. This work is well underway and it’s expected that the vaccine roll out will begin in early June. The Niue roll out will take place in parallel with the Cook Islands”.
Premier Tagelagi said that the motivation to start vaccination as soon as possible is so that Niue can begin working towards opening up the borders and “Lessening the burden on them (NZ) worrying about us with COVID so we can start helping ourselves”.
On Saturday NZ Deputy High Commissioner Nigel Ewels told the crowd at Makefu that the officials from both governments are working very hard towards achieving “..that goal that we’re working for and that will open the way up to things becoming more normal and heading back to things like two way travel and what life was like before the virus.”
The logistics will be released in due course but at this stage the Premier says he is happy that things will start moving forward so that the government can proceed to work towards a two-way quarantine free travel to begin around August or early September.