Approximately 302,400 life-saving doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine will arrive in Papua New Guinea through the COVAX facility. The donation aims to assist Papua New Guinea in its fight against COVID-19. Today’s first shipment is part of the 80 million doses of vaccine that President Biden committed from the U.S. vaccine supply to support global needs.
At a ceremony marking the arrival, U.S. Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu Erin E. McKee said, “The United States is honored to support the Government of Papua New Guinea to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. I would also like to acknowledge our goodwill and close collaboration with the National Department of Health and the National Control Center. The milestones we have achieved to date would not have been possible without our strong and enduring partnership.”
The vaccine dose donation follows a May response by the U.S. government to the Government of Papua New Guinea’s request for critical assistance needed to confront the evolving COVID-19 situation in Papua New Guinea. In partnership with FHI 360, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) quickly redirected funding to procure vital infection prevention and control items for Papua New Guinea’s National Department of Health. The vaccine doses also follow the U.S. delivery of more than 5,000 GeneXpert SARS-CoV-2 cartridges to assist with COVID-19 patient identification and contribute to nationwide testing data. This assistance was funded through the USAID COVID-19 Response in PNG Activity.
The people of the United States and its government are committed to working with partners across the globe to end the devastating public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the U.S. government has provided $35 million in direct COVID-19 relief and recovery assistance to the Pacific Islands region since the start of the pandemic. The United States government has also contributed $4 billion to Gavi in support of COVAX’s purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries and country vaccination readiness activities. This makes the United States the largest single country financial donor supporting COVAX. The U.S. contribution for COVAX is supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers.
President Biden recently said, “We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic.”