Brunei Darussalam received 100,000 Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the Australian government yesterday.
The vaccines arrived in the Sultanate at the Brunei International Airport last night on a direct Royal Brunei Airlines flight from Melbourne.
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Pengiran Datin Shazainah binti Pengiran Dato Paduka Shariffuddin received the vaccines on behalf of the Brunei Government, while Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Brunei Darussalam Chintana Vongpaseuth represented the Australian Government.
The deputy high commissioner said, “Australia is pleased to assist Brunei’s COVID-19 response. Sharing Australian-manufactured vaccines with Brunei is a further demonstration of how Australia is stepping up to ensure those in our region, including Brunei, have access to safe and effective vaccines.”
Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam Third Secretary Dan Seehusen added, “I was pleased to receive a vaccine as part of Brunei’s vaccination programme. It’s nice to be able to contribute to Brunei’s vaccine efforts.”
From the outset of the pandemic, Australia has worked with Brunei and other Southeast Asian neighbours to respond to COVID-19, including through sharing at least 20 million vaccine doses with countries across the region by mid-2022.
Australia’s AUD300 million Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative, which includes a AUD21-million contribution to the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases, is bolstering the region’s health security. Australia has also contributed AUD130 million to COVAX and, under the Quad Vaccine Partnership, is providing AUD100 million to manufacture and distribute vaccines to the Indo-Pacific region.
According to the MFA, the Australian Department of Defence donated COVID-19 laboratory equipment to the Royal Brunei Armed Forces for the Medical Reception Station (MRS) in Bolkiah Garrison in December 2020.
The Sultanate and Australia share friendly relations, with bilateral cooperation between the two countries continuing to progress well since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1984. Both nations have worked together in areas of mutual benefit including education, trade and investment, defence and connectivity.
In view of the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the well-being of the people, both nations have continued to work together in addressing mental health issues in the region and beyond, including through ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit. This is in line with Brunei’s priorities and deliverables of its Chairmanship of ASEAN, under the theme ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper’. A significant milestone will also be achieved this year in regional cooperation with the convening of the inaugural annual ASEAN-Australia Summit.
Senior officials from the MFA and the Ministry of Health as well as representatives from the Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam were also present at the Brunei International Airport.