Press Release

Timor-Leste launches COVID-19 vaccination campaign

08 April 2021

  • Timor-Leste kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday 7 April 2021, World Health Day, at an event held at the Centro Saude Formosa in central Dili.

DILI, 7 APRIL 2021 – Timor-Leste kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday 7 April 2021, World Health Day, at an event held at the Centro Saude Formosa in central Dili.

H.E. Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Ministers and other government and political leaders, religious leaders, government officials, representatives of civil society, UN agencies, donors and development partners took part in the launch event.

H.E. Francisco Guterres Lú Olo and the First Lady, Prime Minister, H.E Taur Matan Ruak and his spouse, the Archbishop of Dili, the Imam of the Grand Mosque, UN Resident Coordinator, World Health Organization Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund Representative and a number of others received their first dose of vaccines at the ceremony.

The event kicked off Phase 1 of the vaccination campaign as outline in the National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan. This phase would involve vaccinating all health workers and frontline personnel, those above 60 years of age and those with comorbidities. Phase 2 will cover the rest of the eligible population. All persons above 18 years of age are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  

“The launch of the vaccination campaign is the most effective tool in reducing the impact of COVID-19 on our communities, of complementing other health protocols, and helping our country return to normalcy,” said H.E. Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. “By taking the vaccine today, I am showing my confidence in the vaccine and that it is the right choice for our country. I urge all those eligible for the vaccine to do the same to protect yourself, your family and community.”

The vaccinations are being administered at health posts and immunization posts set up by the Ministry of Health.

“The vaccine is the most powerful tool to control and subsequently end the COVID-19 pandemic. And it will be possible only when those eligible receive the vaccine and encourage their eligible family members and friends to do the same,” said H.E Dra Odete Maria Freitas Belo. I also appeal to everyone to continue following the COVID-19 preventive measures including those who have received the vaccine; no one is safe until everyone is safe. So, please continue to wear the mask, wash your hands with soap and water, practice physical distancing, do not cross borders illegally, and do not believe in rumours and hearsay,” added the Minister of Health.

To support the vaccination campaign, a multi-media awareness campaign has also been launched by the Ministry of Health on television, radio, social media and through advocacy meetings with national, municipal and community leaders. This includes messages in video and audio formats, and in sign language.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has badly damaged the health systems and is impacting on peoples’ lives and livelihoods. But we are also fortunate to have seen the best of joint efforts and multilateral cooperation to develop and deploy the COVID vaccine in the shortest possible time ever. It is great to see the arrival of the vaccines in Timor-Leste, for which the Government, UN agencies and all partners have been working so hard. Timor-Leste welcomes the arrival of the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility as a way forward to ending the pandemic. Now on, we must get to make sure the vaccines are deployed well and that further vaccines are procured and made available to everyone in the country. None of us is safe until everyone is safe”, said UN Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy.

Timor-Leste received 24,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on 5 April, the first consignment of the doses allocated through the COVAX Facility for 20 per cent of Timor-Leste’s population. The shipment included syringes and safety disposal boxes for the vaccination campaign.

COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as the key implementing partner. The COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) is achieving a multilateral response to

the pandemic crisis, leveraging the expertise of multilateral agencies, the resources of donors and the commitment of recipient counties, to support global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

For several months, COVAX partners have been supporting governments and partners around the world to prepare for this moment. In Timor-Leste, WHO and UNICEF have supported the development of the national vaccine deployment plan and an awareness raising campaign at national and subnational levels, while UNICEF has supported cold chain strengthening. UNICEF and WHO also supported training of health workers in the introduction and roll out of the vaccine, identification and enumeration of priority groups, vaccine transport and storage, vaccine administration and management of any side effects.

The COVAX Facility and provision of vaccines are supported by funding from the Governments of Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Monaco, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Team Europe, United Kingdom, the United States of America and a number of other donors and institutions.

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ABOUT COVAX

COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for COVAX.

The Advance Market Commitment is funded through the generosity of governments, private sector, philanthropic and multilateral partners, See the AMC donor table for a complete list of pledges.

Notes to Editors

Full COVAX News Note to Editors: https://www.who.int/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax/covax-news-note-to-editors

List of donor pledges to the Gavi COVAX AMC: https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX-AMC-Donors-Table.pdf

UNICEF COVAX page https://www.unicef.org/supply/covax-ensuring-global-equitable-access-covid-19-vaccines

For further information, please contact:

Ministry of Health:

XXXXX

UNICEF

Rukshan Ratnam, Communication Specialist (English enquiries): rratnam@unicef.org;

Antonio Gomez, Communication Officer (Tetun enquiries): angomez@unicef.org.

WHO

Lisa Hasan, Communication Officer (English and Tetun): hasane@who.int, +670-77099494

Shobhan Singh, Communication Specialist (English and Tetun): singhsho@who.int; +670-77543990

Timor-Leste launches COVID-19 vaccination campaign

RR

Rukshan Ratnam

UNICEF
Communications Specialist
Shobhan Singh

Shobhan Singh

WHO
Communications Specialist

UN entities involved in this initiative

UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative