In terms of our preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has already drafted a policy document on the vaccines and that will be submitted to the government Caucus and then to Cabinet this week.
Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Pauline McNeil said during the radio talkback show on Sunday.
And so the draft has been now finalised and work is now ongoing to put the Caucus and Cabinet paper together.
In terms of the plan of the vaccination the National Deployment of the Vaccination Plan was already done which the Ministry submitted to the COVAX Facility to have access to 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca.
McNeil also added that the number of doses to be accessed by Solomon Islands is already confirmed.
So in terms of the vaccine roll out the team is working extremely hard to do the micro-planning which will give the details of the action plan and how to roll out the plan.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yogesh Choudhri said that our application when the COVAX Facility initially sought our expression of interest for the 0.25% of the 108,000 people to be vaccinated, that application was not approved.
“So instead we received a communiqué from COVAX that they’ll be offering us 108,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for the period of next 6 months.
“The 40% would come in the first quarter and the rest 60% will come in the second quarter,” he added.
On the approval of the vaccine Dr. Yogesh further detailed that Pfizer was approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its first emergency use validation to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
He added that the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization has issued Interim recommendations for use of the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19.
With regards to AstraZeneca, it was also approved by the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE).
In terms of the vaccine efficacy? Dr. Yogesh said AstraZeneca has reported efficacy of 70% in its first trials and it was assessed to be 63.1% by WHO.
“But the important finding with AstraZeneca is that this is the first vaccine which they have reported that is able to prevent the transmission.
“So this is the good news therefore we probably will use this vaccine for prevention of transmission,” he added.
By ANDREW FANASIA