As part of government’s strategy to make the COVID-19 vaccine accessible to the people of Solomon Islands, the Guadalcanal Province (GP) launched the COVID-19 vaccine roll out by reaching out to the people on Friday.
The Province’s Premier Francis Sade and his deputy Lazarus Rima were the first to receive the vaccine shot from the GP rollout followed by around 30 individuals.
The actual roll out however will commence a week later where teams of vaccinators will be positioned along selected health facilities and strategic locaitons from Lambi to Aola to administer the vaccines.
The next phase is taking the vaccine across to all persons 18 years and above on the weather coast.
“We are ready and once all other necessary requirements are in place in the coming days including vaccination training, awareness and distribution of vaccine stocks, we will move to continue with the actual roll out of the vaccines” stated Dr Joel Denty, GP Health Director.
Delivering her remarks at the event, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Mrs. Pauline McNeil explained that with most of the prioritized groups vaccinated in selected provinces and more supplies of vaccines coming into the country as of Friday, Health has decided to open up the vaccines for all persons 18 years and above starting with Honiara and Guadalcanal.
“Time is of great essence thus it is critical that we move swiftly to get all our eligible persons vaccinated. This is the only most effective and efficient way in which we can protect ourselves, our children, communities and the country.
“If there is any time in our history that we need to join hands and defend the health of our country, this is the time. I thank the Honourable Premier Hon. Francis Sade, your deputy and provincial ministers and all those who received the vaccine today as part of the official launch program. Your coming forward to get your vaccine will greatly build confidence around the vaccine as we roll it out across the island”, stated Mrs. McNeil.
She added “I an urging all people of Guadalcanal to come forward as the vaccine roll out, both AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines are safe for use and effective to protect against severe illness, hospitalization or death by COVID”.
The Ministry of Health is providing the necessary support both technical and financial towards GP Health team for the roll out of the vaccines.
Delivering the key- note address, Premier Francis Sade, highlighted that Guadalcanal Province is at risk of COVID-19 threat because of the International Airport and Seaport, both in Honiara.
“Therefore I am very pleased that Guadalcanal province is being prioritized in the vaccination roll out plan and I urge all my people to make use of this opportunity to preserve our health against this global pandemic”.
The Premier also strongly advised against believing rumours and false information about the vaccines circulating on social media and the internet. “People should only trust and follow information and instructions from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services including other credible sources and to demonstrate confidence in these vaccines, I as your leader will be the first to receive vaccine dose from the COVID-19 GP roll out”, stated the premier before receiving his vaccine dose.