The Government of the Republic of Nauru

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Nauru COVID vaccination launch, a success


For Immediate Release

Monday, 12 April, 2021


Nauru COVID vaccination launch, a success


Nauru is well underway to 100 per cent COVID-19 immunisation coverage of the adult population, with His Excellency President Lionel Aingimea receiving the first shot of the COVAX AstraZenenca vaccine on launch day, 9 April.


Minister for Health Isabella Dageago administered the first vaccine shot for the President, being a qualified and trained nurse. Although no longer at the frontline, it is a demonstration of the government's belief in the importance of getting vaccinated.


The launch was a huge success with seamless operation through the four stages of registration, screening, injection and observation.


For launch day, 106 invitations were delivered but 168 shots were administered; clearly demonstrating the willingness of the public to get ahead and get vaccinated. The excess numbers of people were walk-ins.


The opening prayer and blessing of the vaccination rollout was rendered by Father Keleto.


President Lionel Aingimea, Madam Ingrid Aingimea, Speaker of Parliament Marcus Stephen and Chief Justice Taniela Fatiaki were among the launch group.


In his opening address, President Aingimea remembers those "that have perished from this dreaded virus."


"We are not only COVID-free but come the end of June we will be the only country, I think, in the world that is 100 per cent protected through vaccination against the ravages of COVID-19," President Aingimea said.


"We in Nauru have been, by the grace of God, blessed not to have been touched [by coronavirus] and I was just thinking this morning that I have yet to hear even of a Nauruan overseas who has been touched by this virus. That is indeed a blessing.


"I give my most my heartfelt thanks, as does Government to the health people who have worked so hard over a few weeks to make sure they're ready in regards to training so they can administer this vaccination.


"This vaccination is open to all here in Nauru, ages 18 and above, regardless of race, colour or creed," the President said.


The Health Minister echoed the President's words that Nauru remains COVID-free "because our prayers have been answered by the delivery of this very important vaccine", and warns against misinformation encouraging Nauruans to ask questions and rely on trustworthy sources such as the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, COVAX and government resources.


"All vaccines have mild side effects, the same with the COVID-10 vaccine. These are normal and expected and shows your body is producing the desired immune response.


"More than half of us will have the desired side effects after the vaccine, usually only for a few hours or one to two days, at most," the Minister advised.


Side effects can include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, headache, mild fever, feeling unwell, muscle aches and nausea.


The Minister says serious adverse reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare.


"But we [government] take them [side effects] seriously. The health staff are prepared to manage allergic reactions and the department will monitor closely for any other serious reactions."


The Minister thanks the governments of Australia and Taiwan for their donations of the vaccines as well as the government of India, USA, Israel and Japan, and the Asian Development Bank for their efforts and assistance is funding and facilitating the delivery of the vaccine to Nauru.


Due to the vaccines short shelf life, the vaccination schedule is being rolled out quickly to ensure the vaccines are used up before the expiry dates. The first dose is scheduled to be rolled out over four weeks and the second dose to be administered by mid-July.


The five injection stations were each managed by a registered nurse assisted by nurse aides, who received compliments for their steady hands and professional handling in administering the injection and in reassuring their patients. A doctor was on hand


Launch day also provided the opportunity to observe any setbacks in the roll out procedure so any hitch could be addressed and corrected for this week's schedule


Vaccination continues from today, Monday 12 April for frontline workers; walk-ins are also welcome.


Provided all eligible adults come in for both their shots, all eligible adults in Nauru will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of June.