Navy

Royal Navy delivers vaccines and dental treatment to tiny remote Pacific islands

Some inhabitants of the islands had "not seen a dentist or undergone any dental care in about four years" prior to the Navy's arrival.

Royal Navy sailors have delivered COVID vaccines to the remote Pitcairn Islands and even carried out some dental checks on locals.

The tiny islands in the middle of the South Pacific are home to only about 50 people and are one of Britain's most isolated Overseas Territories. 

Sailors from patrol ship HMS Spey provided enough jabs to offer a booster to every eligible person on the islands - most of whom are double vaccinated.

Alasdair Hamilton, Deputy Governor to the Pitcairn Islands, said the delivery of the jabs is an "important milestone in Pitcairn beginning to open up to the rest of the world".

As British soil, the Pitcairn Islands come under the tutelage and support of the UK Government which includes healthcare.

Spey's dental officer, Surgeon Lieutenant Karolyn John, joined dental nurse Michaela Davies ashore, providing advice on oral care and taking a look at islanders' teeth.

"Some of the islanders have not seen a dentist or undergone any dental care in about four years," she said.

"As it’s a British Overseas Territory, we have a duty to the islands. For me, it’s a unique opportunity, something I don’t think many dentists receive."

Spey visited all four islands in the Pitcairn chain – Henderson, Ducie, Oneo and Pitcairn itself.

Only Pitcairn is inhabited, home to descendants of the crew of the 18th-century Navy ship HMS Bounty.

HMS Spey's sailors met with members of the community and gave tours of the vessel.

The Batch 2 River-class ship also conducted patrols in the waters around the islands to deter and defend against illegal fishing.

HMS Spey set sail for the Indo-Pacific in September last year on a five-year deployment patrolling the area and bolstering the UK's presence there, along with sister ship HMS Tamar.

In January, HMS Spey delivered aid to Tonga after the islands were hit by a devastating Tsunami.