Japan and UNICEF partnership to support the Kingdom of Tonga’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out

04 May 2022

Nuku’alofa, Tonga 4 May 2022 – The Government of Japan has handed over a speedboat, procured by UNICEF, to the Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Tonga to boost COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the country.

This speedboat will support the Government’s efforts in the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines for children. It will help maintain the critical cold chain while delivering life-saving vaccines to health facilities and communities in remote areas of the country, as well as conduct other operational activities.

“For the past years, the outer island hospitals have experienced difficulty in delivering health care needs to the people in remote islands in a timely manner because there was no boat,” said the Minister of Health in Tonga, Hon. Dr. Saia Piukala. “Receiving this boat is timely in the vaccination roll out of Pfizer to our children in the remote islands of Vava’u and also can be used as a sea ambulance in emergency cases from the islands.”

“The Government of Tonga and the Ministry of Health will always be grateful to the Government and the People of Japan as well as UNICEF for their continuous assistance.”

“Considering the geographical conditions of Tonga, everybody would understand how useful the boat we are handing over is,” said H.E. Mr. MUNENAGA, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kingdom of Tonga. “The Ministry can make great use of this boat to serve the people in Tonga.”

The Government of Japan and UNICEF have been working closely with the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and other Pacific Island countries to help prevent the spread of the virus among communities. This includes supporting the vital procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility as well as providing technical and financial resources for the roll out of vaccines in the country.

“We thank the Government of Japan for its continued and strengthened partnership with UNICEF to support the Kingdom of Tonga through this global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “UNICEF will continue to provide support to the Government to ensure the safety of all communities against COVID-19, especially the children.”


Notes to Editors:

This funding is part of the broader Japanese Emergency Grant Aid of approximately USD 41 million to 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and the Pacific (approximately USD 9 million to 10 Pacific Island Countries). The 25 countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

About the Government of Japan:

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies that are useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian assistance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to eligible countries and regions. ODA includes bilateral aid to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consist of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO.


For more information, please contact:

Monalisa Palu, Ministry of Health, Tel: +676 7700400 mona_palu@yahoo.com

Ayano ITO, Advisor at the Embassy of Japan in Tonga, economic.eojtonga@nu.mofa.go.jp

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 9988137


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook