Tokelau receives first vaccine delivery in time for nationwide rollout

Tokelau has received its first delivery of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines as it prepares for the beginning of its nationwide rollout.

The HMNZS Wellington delivered the vaccine consignment to the Fakaofo, Nukunonu and Atafu atolls of Tokelau.

The ship and its 76 crew used a rigid hulled inflatable boat and a Seasprite helicopter to carry out contactless delivery of the vaccines.

HMNZS Wellington Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Pip Davies said the weather provided some challenges to the delivery.

“The weather hasn’t been entirely straightforward but with the flexible capabilities provided by both the helicopter and the ship’s boats, we have been able to deliver the vaccines to all three atolls safely.

“This 5,000 nautical mile journey is no small undertaking and demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to our neighbours in Tokelau.”

Around 1140 eligible people in Tokelau will receive their jab starting today, with New Zealand’s Ministry of Health working with Tokelau officials to ensure everything is in place for the rollout.

It’s the first leg of a 5,000 nautical mile trip by the HMNZS Wellington through the Pacific, with the ship delivering more vaccines to Palmerston Island in the Northern Cook Islands for the 40-strong eligible population there.

The ship will then make a logistics stop in Rarotonga, before returning to New Zealand at the beginning of August.



 Photo supplied Caption: COVID-19 vaccines are delivered by Royal NZ Navy personnel to Nukunonu Atoll.