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Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

Representatives from the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) are heading to the Cook Islands to support the nation’s roll out of their COVID-19 vaccination programme, as New Zealand and the Cook Islands prepare for a two-way travel bubble to launch on 17 May.

IMAC National Manager Loretta Roberts, explains: “Our team has been asked to provide specialist support in areas needed to get the vaccination programme up and running. This signals the first step in our commitment to the New Zealand government’s Polynesian Health Corridors programme that will support COVID-19 vaccination across the Pacific Islands, in the areas requested by each country.”

A small team from IMAC will be on the ground in Rarotonga from today assisting with vaccine cold chain management and education to the workforce; supporting the setup of COVID-19 vaccination clinics and standard operating procedures; education of the Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccine, preparation and administration; as well as managing adverse events following immunisation.

Loretta says: “It is important to the IMAC team that we are able to share our expertise in vaccination and health workforce education to support our Polynesian neighbours to be protected from COVID-19 and confidently open their borders. We are privileged to have this opportunity to support the Pacific Islands.”

Ministry of Health Group Manager Global Health Megan McCoy says “The Immunisation Advisory Centre has a long history as a trusted partner in New Zealand as well as in supporting the Pacific Islands with immunisation and workforce education support. Their expertise on the ground will help to ensure the vaccination programme is well prepared and ready for vaccination once everything is ready to go.”