A Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft delivered 10,000 doses of the Australian-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Fiji on 7 May in a bid to stem the spread of the virus in the region.
CAPTION: Air Movements Operators from No. 23 Squadron load pallets of AstraZeneca vaccines and COVID-19 medical supplies bound for Fiji onto a C-130J Hercules, at RAAF Base Amberley. Story by Eamon Hamilton. Photo by Leading AIrcraftwoman Emma Scwenke.
The airlift from RAAF Base Amberley was conducted with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Health.
The Hercules also delivered medical supplies and personal protective equipment for Fijian health service workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.
Commander Air Mobility Group Air Commodore Carl Newman said the mission to Fiji had followed similar support to Papua New Guinea.
“Assisting our neighbours in this way is a small but impactful contribution we can make to help protect their citizens and control the spread of COVID-19,” Air Commodore Newman said.
“For the crews conducting these mission, it’s incredibly rewarding work, and one of the reasons that they joined Defence.
“They’re making a difference in helping not only citizens in Australia, but in the broader region.”
The mission to Fiji demonstrates Australia’s commitment to helping regional neighbours manage the spread of COVID-19.
“The Australian Defence Force has been actively involved in assisting governments in their management of COVID-19, both domestically and regionally,” Air Commodore Newman said.
“Where we can control the regional spread, it only assists us in reducing the COVID-19 threat at our own borders.
“We’ve got a strong history of providing support within our region, whether it’s a response to a pandemic or another humanitarian crisis.”