100,000 ASTRAZENECA COVID-19 VACCINES ARRIVE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS

As the Ministry of Medical Health and Services (MHMS) steps up the national vaccine roll-out to the provinces, Australia continues to provide Solomon Islands with a steady, reliable, and safe supply of vaccines to help protect the community and those on the frontline.

One hundred thousand Australian-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 doses arrived in Solomon Islands on 15 October. This is the largest single delivery of vaccine doses to arrive in Solomon Islands to date. It brings the total number of vaccines Australia has provided bilaterally to 213,000 doses.

Vaccines arriving at the airport last week Friday

The delivery of these vaccines will ensure MHMS has the supply on hand to continue its outreach in various locations across Solomon Islands as it aims to achieve comprehensive vaccine coverage between 80 and 90 per cent before the country can look to re-open its international borders to the world.

Australia’s commitment to Solomon Islands to provide one million COVID-19 vaccine doses remains unchanged. Australian-manufactured AstraZeneca doses are only one of the many ways in which Australia will meet its vaccine dose sharing commitment to Solomon Islands.

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Underscoring the longstanding health partnership between the two countries, acting Australian High Commissioner Ms Sally-Anne Vincent handed over the consignment of vaccines to MHMS Permanent Secretary, Mrs Pauline McNeil, on Saturday, 16 October at the National Medical Store.

‘As a friend and neighbour, we are committed to assisting the Solomon Islands Government execute its vaccination roll-out strategy and strengthen its COVID-19 resilience. This delivery demonstrates Australia’s responsiveness and action to deliver on our commitment to provide Solomon Islands with a safe and regular supply of vaccines to ensure its vaccination needs are met.’

Acting Australian High Commissioner Ms Sally-Anne Vincent

‘Australia and Solomon Islands have a longstanding, enduring health partnership. In the COVID-19 context, we have not only worked with the MHMS to provide vaccines, we have also assisted with the technical training of health care workers, funding for essential cold chain equipment and logistical support. We will continue to work closely with the Solomon Islands Government where our support is requested,’ said Ms Vincent.

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In receiving the consignment, MHMS Permanent Secretary, Pauline McNeil thanked the Government and people of Australia for standing by the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health throughout the entire COVID-19 preparedness and response until today. “Many of our success stories especially the management of our 20 COVID-19 cases, preventing community transmission from occurring and maintaining COVID-19 free status for over five months would not have been possible if it was not for your support and steadfast commitment towards our friendship and partnership”,

“Today we are once again pleased to witness another wonderful outcome of this friendship and partnership with the receiving of these 100,000 doses of Australian made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. The arrival of these vaccines could not have come at a better time as our vaccine stock level had fallen to 58,573 COVID-19 vaccines, with only around 48,000 plus AstraZeneca vaccines left which meant that in four weeks’ time, we would not have any vaccines left to administer. The reduction in stock level also means that there is increased demand for the COVID-19 vaccines and our people are coming forward to get their jabs. So thank you indeed Australia for coming to our rescue”, said Mrs. McNeil.

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Solomon Islands and Australia are committed to working together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This consignment of AstraZeneca doses forms part of our partnership to work together to improve COVID-19 preparedness in Solomon Islands.

We encourage all Solomon Islanders to look out for the vaccination teams as they pass through your province, and fully protect yourself, your family and your community against COVID-19 by getting both doses of the vaccine