SUVA, April 16 (Xinhua) -- More than 500 people, mostly frontline workers and those vulnerable to the virus, on Friday have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Tonga, a Pacific island nation with a population of more than 100,000.
According to Matangi, Tonga's leading news website on Friday, the vaccination program started on Thursday with Tonga's Princess Pilolevu Tuita receiving the first dose, along with the nation's Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, and cabinet ministers. The vaccinated people included health, police, defence and officials at Tonga's ports and airports.
The prime minister said on Friday that there had been no cases of major adverse effects nor any hospitalizations from those that have been vaccinated so far.
People are advised on possible side effects and receive information cards describing the possible side effects from the vaccine.
Vaccinations for frontline workers will continue until Saturday.
Next week, the vaccine rollout expands to various communities for priority groups, including those above 45, and those who are over 18 years old with non-communicable diseases or disabilities.
According to the initial distribution forecast of COVAX in February this year, Tonga will receive 43,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The island nation received its first batch of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX facility in March. Enditem