First vaccines for East Timor arrive in Dili on Monday – LUSA

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Dili, 01 abr 2021 (Lusa) – The first batch of covid-19 vaccines, a total of 24 thousand doses, arrives in East Timor next Monday, via a flight chartered by UNICEF, according to documents Lusa had access to.
Vaccines will be transported to Dili on a charter flight contracted by the United Nations Childhood Fund (UNICEF), which is supporting Timor-Leste in transporting vaccines, and will be operated by My Indo Airlines, a transport company cargo based in Jakarta and operates among other locations also from Singapore.
A request for landing of the flight, originating in Singapore and expected in Dili about 13:00 locations (05:00 in Lisbon), has already been made by the air carrier to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the documents seen by Lusa.
Ministry of Health sources explained to Lusa that a second shipment is expected in May.
The aim of the Timorese authorities is to start the vaccination programme, firstly for front line workers, on April 07, which marks World Health Day.
Today, Health Minister Odete Belo and other members of the Government are participating in a symbolic event of delivery of arks that will be used for vaccines by UNICEF to the Autonomous Service of Medicines and Health Equipment (SAMES), the Central Timorese pharmacy ….
The date of arrival of the first vaccines has repeatedly been delayed due to delays in confirming their availability by the producer.
Monday’s flight occurs after a complex initial process for obtaining initial vaccines through the Covax mechanism (20 % of the total), with multiple shipments that will be administered in East Timor according to a list of priorities.
In the case of East Timor, vaccine production is made in South Korea by SK Bio, with the logistics partner being UNICEF, which organizes transportation to Dili.
On January 29, the Covax mechanism indicated to the World Health Organization (WHO) when countries could begin receiving vaccines approved for emergency use by the United Nations agency.
On February 15, AstraZeneca reported that East Timor vaccines would be allocated to producers in South Korea, with the Covax platform confirming that the country will receive the first 100 vaccines once production is taking place ….
Then it was necessary to confirm the first shipments to East Timor, and the Timorese authorities must meet a set of requirements.
These requirements include import licences, authorisation and other legal agreements, and then commence the acquisition process, which in this case has no cost to the country.
The doses needed to vaccinate the first 20 % of the population will be provided through the Covax international mechanism, aimed at supporting countries with the most deficiencies and vulnerabilities.
East Timor will resort to the AstraZeneca vaccine, as it is considered ′′ the most appropriate vaccine ′′ for the country, given that it can be preserved in refrigerators, between two and eight degrees centigrade.
Within the first group of 20 % of the population to be vaccinated, the priority will be for front line officials, especially in the land border area, for teams directly involved in combating covid-19, greater than 60 years and people with comorbidities.
About 100 thousand doses will be for 50 thousand people on the front lines, plus 160 thousand for the 80 thousand people with comorbidities and over @DIGITS years old thousand doses for other priority groups and vulnerable.
After that, the Government estimates it will take more than 2,3 million doses for a universe of 1,17 million people, of whom 542 thousand are under 17 years old.
The government-approved vaccination roadmap highlights the ′′ opportunity to seize the Australian Government’s willingness to fund vaccine acquisition for 80 % of the population by the end of 2021, early 2022 “.
The text considers it important to ′′ plan extended vaccination for the entire population ′′ given that the pandemic remains ′′ a major threat to national, international and global public health “.
Although by stages, ′′ vaccination coverage for 100 % of the population will contribute to minimising operating costs “, with ′′ fewer interruptions in other essential health services due to mobilization of staff “.
It is noted that ′′ there is already a vaccine supply system in the country through the Cooperation Agreement between the Ministry of Health and UNICEF and Marco Contract between SAMES (central pharmacy) and UNICEF for vaccine acquisition “.
With regard to funding the remaining 80 % – at an estimated cost of $ 15,4 million (EUR 12,9 million) – the roadmap predicts three scenarios, with different support values from the Australian Government, between 10 and 2,7 million dollars (8,5 to 2,3 million euros), the rest of which would be filled by the Timorese Government.
Lusa / End
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COVID-19 Timor-Leste