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Japan awards $140,000 grant to support Samoa’s COVID-19 vaccination

Statement from Japan's ambassador to Samoa & the UNICEF Pacific rep
Source: Samoa govt release

Apia, SAMOA — Anticipating the arrival of the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, the Government of Japan this past week announced a humanitarian grant of US$140,000 (more than $300,000 tala) to support the Samoa’s efficient deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

The National Emergency Operation Center, leading the implementation of the program is targeting early April to roll out the vaccination nationwide in both Upolu and Savai’i.

 “This grant will be used for the procurement of appropriate vehicles to provide logistical support to efficiently deliver COVID-19 vaccines to health facilities,” says a Joint Statement issued by the Government of Japan and UNICEF.

The funding will enhance the Government of Samoa’s vaccination effort, in the context of achieving universal health coverage, as well as help to strengthen the management of equipment during the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines over a 12-month period between 2021-2022. And it will strengthen the vaccine cold chain, and support the Government of Samoa’s logistics capacity, to address the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Japan is very much committed to assist the Government of Samoa’s preparatory and response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of the international concerted efforts, we are glad to have this opportunity to support the Government of Samoa through UNICEF to provide transportation as ‘last one-mile support’ to ensure vaccination in Samoa,” said H.E. Mr. Genichi Terasawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Samoa.

This Emergency Grant Aid is additional funding to the ongoing assistance from Japan through the Economic and Social Development Programme (ESDP) of US$1.38 million, which will be used for Samoa to procure medical equipment including ultra-low temperature freezers. In addition, for the equitable access to vaccines for Pacific Island Countries and developing countries globally, so far, Japan has announced its financial contribution of USD 200 million to the COVAX Facility.

UNICEF has been working with Pacific governments to help prevent the spread of the virus among communities, as well as supporting the vital procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.

“We thank the Government of Japan for its continued and strengthened partnership with UNICEF to support Samoa through the global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We will continue to work with the Government of Samoa, WHO and other partners, to ensure their health system is well prepared to respond appropriately to the ongoing threat of this pandemic.”