The first Vaccination party aimed at vaccinating 400 people, saw 250 people getting their jabs within three hours after the opening yesterday.

The idea for the vaccination party was that of Nasama resort Company owner, Paul Vogelsberger. The Nasama owner shares that the idea had been germinating in his head over a period of time as he surveyed the damages that the COVID-19 caused.

“We all know that the only way that the borders are ever going to open is if we all get vaccinated,” he said.

“If not, no one can come into the country and no one can leave. Even those who have medical conditions. A lot of people are out of work, I used to have 60 employees and now I have 7. We cannot maintain this position in Vanuatu.”

The vaccination rates at the moment are not close to having the country remain safe when the borders are open. Facebook has been a great source of misinformation and circulation of information on COVID-19.

According to Mr. Vogelsberger, the party was a way to appeal to crowds on social media, presenting the public with an event that incentivizes and appeals to people to get vaccinated.

The vaccination party provided free food to all those who get jabbed, additionally the jabbed got to enter a raffle as well to win all sorts of prizes. Food and drinks were on sale for all those who wanted to support the initiative, they could also choose to buy a raffle ticket or enter the auction.

The vaccination part was put together in 10 days. The Nasama Resort owner had appealed to other businesses to help support and 22 responded. Among the 22 were Bred Bank, AJC, Three Pigs, Club Lit, Libation, iCount, Digicel, Tamanu on the Beach and more businesses that generously donated.

With multiple donations of all array from the generous business houses, the vaccination party held an auction and a raffle valued at over VT389,000.

The small vaccination team that arrived at the Pango beach where the party took place brought 400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The party began at 9am and by lunchtime over 250 people had already gotten their first or final jabs.

The village custom land owners were very accommodating of the vaccination party and offered up the community nakamal for the health team to set up in. This was given freely.

A Pango custom landowner, Kalteres Kalwatman, owns the Pango beach area sprawling to the Nasama Resort and 3 Pigs area.

Mr. Kalwatman said as a custom landowner he is also a relative of the chief and understands that the vaccination of the public is for the good of his village and all people.

“It is important to get vaccinated, we cannot keep the borders closed forever. Our people need their livelihoods back, so many have lost their jobs” he said.

Leiri Lawi is among those who got vaccinated. She is a Pango villager who had attended the vaccination party to receive her first jab.

“I have always wanted to get vaccinated but George Pompidou is far from the village. This is a good initiative and it should be carried out in more rural areas. Since getting the vaccine I feel fine and I enjoyed today,” she said.

A vaccinated lady from the island of Tongoa, Elisabeth was happy to join the party and get vaccinated.

“I am so happy to come to Pango because I was treated kindly and I got a free food for lunch. I also enjoy the beach here. I hope I can get my second jab here as well,” she shared.

Mr. Vogelsberger hopes that this is a party that can keep going on. He hopes that after the reviews of yesterday’s party, some other organizer can take the initiative to help vaccination rates in Vanuatu in a similar way.

“The donations received today will go towards the next vaccination party as well as hopefully able to pay vaccination teams to work on weekends, so that the party can take place on Saturday and those who have jobs can attend.”

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