Peter is comforted by his mother, Senovevo, while Nurse Rosemary Raikekeni provides him a dose of rotavirus vaccine in Kuvamiti, East Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 17 May 2023.


UNICEF and Rotary: protecting 100,000 Pacific Island children from life-threatening illnesses.

  1. Home

  2. Media Releases

  3. UNICEF and Rotary: protecting 100,000 Pacific Island children from life-threatening illnesses.

A Rotary and UNICEF immunisation program will protect up to 100,000 children in nine Pacific countries from potentially deadly illnesses including Rotavirus, Pneumococcal disease and Human Papillomavirus.  

The immunisation program is being implemented by UNICEF in Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Kiribati, in cooperation with the Ministries of Health, and with the support of millions in fundraising by Rotary members in Australia and New Zealand, and contribution from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  

Visiting the Pacific this week, Rotary International President Jennifer Jones has seen firsthand the impact the vaccination program is having on children and families.

“While visiting Kiribati this week I have seen how critical preventative care is for newborns and children, and where access to clean water and nutrition is limited, it is even more critical to protect children’s already vulnerable health from illness,” Ms Jones said.

“Together with UNICEF, Rotary is committed to strengthening health systems and ensuring sustainable access to health care in the Pacific through immunisations and health worker training.”

The US$3.9 million project has enabled UNICEF to procure, transport and store vaccines; and provide technical assistance and training to health workers, including support to educate parents about the vaccine.   

UNICEF Pacific Islands Representative Jonathan Veitch said the program is literally lifesaving for Pacific Island children. 

“Every year in the Pacific, families grieve the loss of 1,500 children who die before their fifth birthday. Pneumonia and diarrhoea are leading killers of children in this age group, and it is heartbreaking that Pacific Island families are suffering because of preventable illnesses. We’re proud that this partnership is protecting the precious lives of infants and children in the Pacific,” Mr Veitch said.

We’re committed to transparency. To see how we split up expenses and manage our costs, read our annual report or visit UNICEF Open to see a live overview of all our projects.

world map

UNICEF Aotearoa is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (CC35979), making you eligible for a tax refund of up to a third of your donation. All transactions are billed in New Zealand dollars.

UNICEF Aotearoa operates from Level 5, 86 Victoria Street, Wellington 6011, New Zealand.