The opening of the borders between the Cook Islands and New Zealand in May 2021 provided the opportunity for NZMAT to assist the NZ Ministry of Health’s Global Health team to provide assistance to the Cook Island Government to support the local Ministry of Health rollout the COVID-19 vaccination to the eligible population.
Six rotations of 37 NZMAT personnel over two and half months were deployed to provide surge support to the local MoH to allow local staff to be released from their substantive roles to administer the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
This deployment had many firsts for NZMAT:
-First deployment to support a vaccination rollout
-First provision of medical escorts for aeromedical transfers internationally (from the Cook Islands to New Zealand) as well domestically within the Cook Islands
-First time a pharmacist capability deployed with a NZMAT teams