The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) remains grateful to donors and partners for support rendered towards a successful launch of the Pfizer vaccine last week Thursday.
Special thanks to the children aged 12 to below 18 years and pregnant mothers whom have come along during the launch of their own willingness to get vaccinated. This is very encouraging and health is urging parents especially in the capital, for now, to come forward with their children and get them vaccinated, as no one is safe until we are all safe from COVID-19.
Health is also urging pregnant mothers to come in for their vaccination as this vaccine has been proven to be safe for both mother and her unborn baby. Pregnant mothers are also part of our more vulnerable population that need to be immunised to protect them against severe effects of Covid-19.
The launch and now the roll out of the 100 thousand, 6 hundred and 20 Pfizer vaccines would not have been possible without the support from the United States whom have channelled their support through the COVAX facility ensuring equitable distribution of the Pfizer vaccines across the world, thus the portion of the support to Solomon Islands.
The launch on Thursday last week mark the commencement of our efforts to vaccinate our children aged 12 to below 18 years and pregnant mothers.
While initially it was planned that roll out for first dose for our children was to have happened in schools in Honiara before schools closed for the Christmas and new year festive season and upon return get their second jabs, the early closure of the schools had now made it impossible to roll out the first dose as planned.
Therefore, the Ministry will be continuing the administration of Pfizer vaccines for both our children and pregnant mothers at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) car park, same spot used for the launching and roll out last week.
As we progress, the ministry is looking into moving the vaccines to Honiara city clinics to ensure that it is closer to the communities and homes especially for parents and their children and pregnant mothers.
Eventually and as per all logistical and necessary requirements to ensure safety of the vaccines are in place, the vaccines will be deployed to the provinces and this will be communicated to the public.
The Ministry would like to remind the public that these Pfizer vaccines similar to AstraZeneca and Sinopharm have gone through all necessary safety and efficacy protocols set in place by WHO and thus approved by WHO for emergency use globally and the National Medicines and Therapeutic Committee for use in Solomon Islands.
The Ministry of health understands that there still remains significant level of fears and anxieties around these COVID-19 vaccines in country and this is normal. However, the Ministry would also like to remind the public that the devastation caused by COVID-19 will affect our health and lives, families and communities and the country as a whole leading to deaths and disability and affect economy in short and long term.
There are living examples of those unvaccinated begging to be vaccinated on their death beds only to be told by health workers that it is already late. Two or three cases in our neighbouring Fiji, involve pregnant mothers who died due to COVID-19. COVID-19 infection for pregnant women can adversely affect both the baby and the pregnant woman.
Let us not be ignorant to many of these human stories of the impact of COVID-19 but take action now and get vaccinated while we still do not have any community transmission. There is simply just no guarantee that COVID-19 will not enter in our country and community transmission for the virus prevented. There are possibilities, and more importantly our health system will be overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases in an event of a community transmission. This will also affect other routine services like other medical emergencies, deliveries and surgeries etc.