The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered since the start of the national vaccination program rollout in June until last Sunday is estimated at over 34,000, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Of this figure, the number of people who have already received the recommended two doses of vaccine has now increased to roughly over 3,000.

The total doses administered since Tuesday last week was 31, 029. The updated figures will be provided in the next weekly situation report, which is expected to be release soon.

Vaccination first phase priority groups are health workers, people with underlying conditions, elderly (age 55 and above) and other frontline workers. The majority vaccinated are elderly and those with underlying conditions.

First phase of vaccination aims to cover 20% of the country’s population. Vaccination rollout targeted priority groups initially and is now open to public.

Leader of Opposition, Ralph Regenvanu, was amongst those who got jabbed with their second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday.

Regenvanu was the first person to get vaccinated in Vanuatu.

With the Delta variant cases rising daily in Fiji, Regenvanu said many people in Vanuatu should be vaccinated so that everyone is protected against any outbreak events.

Other countries such as New Caledonia are imposing vaccine mandates and Vanuatu inevitably will follow suit, he added.

In New Caledonia, people are not allowed entry unless fully vaccinated. Any traveler entering Vanuatu must present a negative COVID-19 test result.

Some countries have imposed compulsory vaccination and penalties.

In Brazil, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is legal for local governments to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory, while specifying citizens cannot be physically forced to have the vaccine.

In Saudi Arabia, people must show proof on a mobile app that they have received at least one vaccine dose to enter public and private institutions and two doses to travel abroad.

Fiji has announced it will make vaccine mandatory as a condition of work for civil servants.

Recently in Vanuatu, the government and the private sector came up an incentive of offering weekly draws to persuade people to get their doses.

Though there are currently no COVID-19 cases in Vanuatu, Regenvanu emphasized that getting vaccinated will protect everyone from infection and possible community transmission.

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