Solomon Islands is the first country in the Pacific to have its COVID-19 vaccine order placed by the Gavi COVAX facility through UNICEF Supply Division.
Confirmation of order placement was received from UNICEF following thorough examination of all relevant documents submitted by the COVID-19 technical working group that comprised of the Ministry’s health staff and experts from UNICEF, WHO and other partners. The MHMS is working to prepare relevant documents to facilitate the shipment of these vaccines to Honiara.
Reaching this stage, of successfully placing order with Gavi in itself is a huge step forward in bringing into the country the COVID-19 vaccine as it involves back and forth discussions and reviews of relevant documents to demonstrate the country’s preparedness to receive and distribute the vaccine which includes, policy document, storage capacity, national roll-out plan, etc.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the chair of the COVID-19 National Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine (NCCV) thanked all those involved in getting the order placed with GAVI.
“I thank the members of the National Committee on COVID-19 vaccine, technical working group with support of WHO and UNICEF and the ministry’s health experts and support staff”,
“To reach this far in our efforts to bring in the vaccine and more especially as being the first Pacific Islands country to successfully have its orders placed with the GAVI COVAX facility, I truly salute you all for the job well done. The timely preparation and submission of the required documentation to place the order had been a major factor to this and would not have been achieved if it were not for your hard work, commitment and dedication towards ensuring that our people in the long run stay protected against COVID-19”.
Mrs McNeil explained that with the orders now placed, Solomon Islands expects around twenty-four thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccines as first shipment to arrive early next month to commence vaccination for the first priority of people mostly frontline workers in Honiara as per the COVID-19 vaccine national deployment and roll out plan.
With the roll out plan in place, all frontline staff including health workers and those from other government agencies such as police, customs etc will be the first to be vaccinated followed by the elderlies, 55 years and above and people with underlying sickness such as diabetes, cancer, high blood and the remaining people in Honiara. Continuation of vaccination in Honiara and to the provinces will be conducted as more vaccines arrives throughout the year.
This AstraZeneca COVID vaccines have received approval by the WHO for use in countries. Furthermore, the UK and EU have approved the use the vaccines and have vaccinated millions of people already with this vaccine with very good safety profile.