Suva, Fiji, September 5 – A total of 10,350 COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines donated by the U.S. government arrived today in Kirimati (also known as Christmas Island), part of Kiribati. The donation, through the COVAX facility, is part of the 53,820 life-saving vaccines committed by the United States to Kiribati to bolster the country’s continuing efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.
“As a close friend and ally of the Kiribati people, the United States is pleased to continue with our COVID-19 assistance so that they remain protected from this pandemic and are able to resume their daily lives,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) Tony Greubel. “The American people are proud to stand by you in this global health crisis and remain committed to supporting you in your journey to recovery.”
CDA Greubel recently visited Kiribati to engage government and donor partners on ongoing COVID-19 work on the ground supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). During the trip, he visited the Tungaru Hospital where USAID is supporting local health partners on vaccine readiness, delivery, and post-delivery monitoring. The hospital is also one of the health facilities in the country that received the USAID donated ventilators and the associated training to set up, operate, and maintain the equipment to help treat critically ill patients.
CDA Greubel also visited the Junior Secondary School in Bikenibeu where USAID supported the construction of handwashing stations and taught school children proper handwashing techniques and other health protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19.
To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has provided over $57 million to the Pacific Islands countries, including Kiribati, to manage the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. United States assistance has helped train healthcare workers, establish quarantine facilities, enhance contact tracing, bolster laboratory surveillance, improve public health communication, enhance vaccine rollouts, and support economic recovery efforts.