NEXT month, 63,000 doses of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines (PCV) worth approximately 1.5 million SBD, will be available in all clinics providing immunization services.
This is to ensure that all children especially those under 1 year of age can have access to the vaccines and be protected against Pneumococcus – a bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis, arthritis and bronchitis.
The vaccines are supported by the GAVI Vaccine Alliance and procured by UNICEF on behalf of Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
Chief of UNICEF Solomon Islands Field Office Mr. Yun Jong Kang says “UNICEF is pleased to procure the vaccines on behalf of the Solomon Islands government stating that the vaccines will go a long way in preventing unnecessary suffering and deaths. It will also contribute to government’s efforts towards the Millennium Development Goal 4 – reducing childhood mortality preserving and enhancing the health of the children especially against diseases that were not covered by existing vaccines.”
With pneumococcal vaccines, each child under 1 year of age should receive 3 doses at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age together with other vaccines appropriate for age as part of the revised national immunization schedule.
UNICEF continues to provide technical and financial support to improving the routine immunization program in the Solomon Islands helping the government to achieve regional and global child health goals. Mr. Kang said, “The vaccine is crucial for the children because the risk of serious pneumococcal disease is highest in the first year of life, but remains high throughout the first 24 months of life and also vaccinating against pneumococcal disease is a cost effective way of preventing the disease. “
UNICEF is also supporting the Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the procurement of cold chain equipment to store and protect the vaccines with introductory trainings to health workers on PCV which will commence next week.