After months of anticipation with a few hiccups on the timing of the roll out, the first batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived today at 3.40pm on Air New Zealand flight NZ0934. Even the weather is helpful with rain and a cooler than normal 22 degrees conditions for the arrival of the vaccine.
Thirty front-liners including the vaccinators from the Niue health department will be the first to be vaccinated tomorrow.
The government says that this first consignment will also be an opportunity to refine the logistical timing and the cold chain process required to store and handle the vaccine.
Minister of Health Sauni Togatule is encouraging everyone on the island 16 years and over to be vaccinated to protect the island.
There is excitement on the island as people await the roll out of the vaccine. Chief of Police Tim Wilson who is at the airport every plane day says that he will be one of the first thirty to be vaccinated.
Last Friday Grizelda Mokoia, Head of Niue Public Health told News of the Week radio programme that people were going into the health department every day since the call went out to register for the vaccine.
In a media statement yesterday Health Minister Tongatule thanked the New Zealand government for their assistance in ensuring that there is full vaccine coverage for Niue. He says that it is reassuring that NZ will provide Niue with any additional support required for a successful vaccination programme.
A small handover of the first batch of vaccines was done at the hospital this afternoon with the Deputy New Zealand High Commissioner Nigel Ewels and the Minister of Health Sauni Tongatule.
A much larger consignment of the vaccine will arrive next week on June 8th after which the public roll out of the vaccine will then commence.
The third consignment carrying the Pfizer doses to complete the first phase of the roll-out will arrive on 15th June.