Mothers, fathers and carers are flocking to clinics in the Pacific for life-saving vaccines for their children.

One such young mum, is Aimata. She comes from a large family that knows the best way to protect her son, and the community, is to get vaccinated.  At the vaccine clinic in Rarotonga with her son, she told us she wants little Tukeitaua to “have the best protection.”  

 

Giving every child a future 


Over the next three years, UNICEF, with support from Rotary, is aiming to deliver 300,000 vaccine doses to children across the Pacific, and that is just the beginning.  

Working with local governments, UNICEF will ensure that immunisation programs are sustainably developed across nine Pacific countries, so that the future generations have access to these life-saving vaccines.  
 

“I got my son vaccinated because I
wanted him to have the best protection.”

- Aimata, Tukeitaua's mum

Aimata, a mother, attends a vaccine clinic in the Cook Islands with her son because she wants him to “have the best protection.” © UNICEF/2022/Sosene

These vaccines will protect children against rotavirus disease and pneumococcal virus, two of the major causes of death for children under five in the Pacific. The region also has a high rate of cervical cancer.  

Three times more women die from cervical cancer in the Pacific than in Australia. Through this program, the addition of the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls will be critical to widespread prevention.  

Munokoa, a grandmother from the Cook Islands, heard about the immunisation program on a public health program on the local radio. She believes that “Prevention is better than cure” and has been encouraging families to access the program so that they can be confident that they are protected from preventable illnesses. 

 

“It's always been my belief that prevention
is better than cure.”

- Munokoa, grandmother

Munokoa waits with her baby grandson outside the clinic for vaccination in the Cook Islands. © UNICEF/2022/Sosene


No child left behind 


Immunisation programs in some of the poorest countries often fail to reach those in the hardest to reach locations. If you combine that with poor health systems, limited resources and environmental challenges, it means that children are missing out on life-saving vaccines.  

The Pacific region is geographically remote and has hundreds of islands spread across a large area. UNICEF and Rotary’s ‘Give Every Child a Future’ project will deliver more than 300,000 vaccine doses to children on more than 330 islands. A truly inspiring feat! 
 
UNICEF, with support from Rotary Zone 8, is working to give every child a future by vaccinating children across nine Pacific Island countries. © UNICEF/2022/Sosene


Simplified training for local health care workers 


To be able to continue this immunisation program into the future we need to ensure the local teams that are delivering the program are trained to not only give the vaccines but to also help to educate the parents, grandparents and families of the children who will be receiving the vaccines.  

Ake is just one of the health care workers in the Cook Islands receiving training through the project.  

“Through the new training, I now understand how to simplify [the process] for our parents. With these simple explanations, they now understand and allow their children to have the vaccines.” 

Every child deserves the best protection. Our health care workers will be trained to educate parents and carers about the ongoing need for vaccines as their children grow up, reminding them about their boosters and offer a plan for care. 

Thanks to donors and partners like Rotary Zone 8, UNICEF can reach vulnerable children with health care, protection, clean water and education, no matter who they are or where they live
 
Nurses at a clinic in the Cook Islands prepare for a busy day vaccinating children against rotavirus disease and pneumococcal virus. © UNICEF/2022/Sosene

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