Dr Yogesh Choudhri MHMS Advisor presenting about COVID-19 vaccines to the church leaders and reps

COVID-19 vaccine awareness for Honiara based SSEC leaders

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) remains grateful towards the churches for their continuous willingness to support with current efforts to roll out of COVID-19 across the country.

This week another awareness session specifically for Honiara based leaders of the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) for the Ministry was conducted. This will bring on board these church leaders and representative with current efforts to roll out COVID-19 vaccines awareness program. 

Ministry of Health’s Advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri facilitated the presentation with National Director Health Promotion Mr. Adrian Leamana. 

Training session covered development of vaccine, approval, safety and efficacy, side effects and the very low probability of severe effects of the vaccines. Presentation also touched briefly on the technologies used to make the various vaccines to highlight the need to not worry about the vaccines to make any biological changes to the body. 

During his presentation, Dr Yogesh Choudhri MHMS Advisor highlighted the need to increase uptake of the vaccines. “COVID-19 threat is and its entry and possible spread in community remains a grave concern for the ministry and the government. With only a third of the target population vaccinated to date with one dose, the impact of COVID-19 should there be a community transmission now, will be devastating”,

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“We need to reach 90 percent coverage of our vaccine eligible population to mitigate the impact of a COVID-19 community transmission. These vaccines offers opportunity to do this and therefore all eligible persons 18 years and above should get vaccinated”, said Dr Choudhri. 

“Furthermore, if we do not reach 90 percent coverage, restrictions to our border will continue to remain in place. This has detrimental effect towards our economy and overall livelihood of our people. Country cannot simply operate like this forever. Our borders will need to opened up soon or later but this is largely dependent on the vaccine coverage”, added Dr Choudhri.

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Mr Adrian Leamana, Health Promotion Director of the Ministry of Health in his session explained that churches are amongst the most important channels where we can be able to reach the majority of our population where they may be. “Church building and a congregation is what makes a community, Every single village whether in urban, semi urban or rural and remote places of this country, you will still find a church. This goes to show the strength or advantage of having churches on board supporting the vaccine messaging and roll out. You have the reach and with your already existing influential power, health promotion will always rely on you to disseminate our messages across the country. 

Pastor Moses Omearo of SSEC responsible for SSEC thanked the Ministry of Health for responding to their request. 

Pastor Moses Omearo of SSEC giving his brief appreciation remarks to MHMS

“The church has issued an circular to all our leaders, administrators and members to get vaccinated and also support current roll out of the vaccines. Hence it was the request for us to learn more about the vaccines so we too can participate in promoting the vaccines to our communities”,

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“The session today has greatly broadened our understanding of the vaccines and more importantly that it is safe for use and effective against preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and many other aspects of the vaccines which we will surely pass on to our members. Thank you indeed to the facilitators to thoroughly go through your presentations and the again the Ministry of Health for sparing your time for our request”, said Paster Omearo.

The Ministry of Health is open to conduct any further awareness needed by the churches, as churches will remain an important partner in the ongoing roll out of COVID-19 vaccines across the country.