Since late 2020, work has been ongoing by the Ministry of Health and partners to plan and prepare for the roll-out in Vanuatu of COVID-19 vaccines. On 22 April 2021, Parliament approved the indemnity document to allow the import into Vanuatu of COVID-19 vaccines that had received a WHO Emergency Use Listing.
Vanuatu received the first batch of 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility on 19 May 2021. A further 20,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine were received on 6 June 2021. Vaccination commenced on 02 June 2021. Four priority groups have been identified:
Front line workers (e.g. border workers, quarantine facility staff, public transport drivers)
The elderly (55 and above)
People over 35 with existing medical conditions
From 21 June 2021, COVID-19 vaccination was opened to all adults 18 years old and over (with a continued focus on priority groups). The current target area is the population of Efate and offshore islands. Two vaccination sites are currently operating, as follows:
National Convention Centre: for all communities of south Efate
Paunagisu Vaccination Site (Saupia Health Centre): for all communities of north Efate and offshore islands (limited time)
The two vaccination sites operate from 8.30am to 3.30pm on Monday to Friday. People wishing to receive Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine are invited to go to the National Convention Centre on Monday, Wednesday or Friday each week. Those wishing to obtain their first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can do so at the National Convention Center on Tuesday and Thursday each week.
Transportation is being arranged to the National Convention Centre from Port Vila urban settings and is now extended to South Efate communities targeting people from Mele to Eratap/Teouma. The transportation arrangement is primarily for the elderly and those with physical disability while families and individuals are encouraged to arrange their own transport.