Last week, a one-day refresher training to maintain and enhance the capacity of 49 nurses to support roll out of Pfizer and Janssen COVID-19 vaccines cross the country was successfully completed.
This cohort of nurses includes some who were previously engaged in COVID-19 vaccine roll out and those whom for the first time will be involved in the vaccine roll out.
This week and onwards they are expected to be deployed to the provinces to support with the vaccine roll out.
At the training, they were refreshed on the following areas, administration of the vaccines, doses required, vaccine safety and reporting of adverse events, handling of cold chain, and delivery strategies, including risk communication and how to appropriately and effectively communicate with communities.
Led by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the training was Co-facilitated by the New South Wales National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance, WHO and UNICEF.
Dr. Nemia Bainivalu, Incident Controller, National Health Emergency Operations Centre (NHEOC) in his remarks at the start of the training thanked the participants for their commitment towards the fight against COVID-19.
“Thank you everyone for your ongoing hard work. Though the COVID-19 situation has improved, the fight against COVID-19 is not yet over. We are still recording COVID-19 cases in some of our provinces and more importantly, the full reopening of our borders will still present COVID-19 risks to our health and lives”,
“Therefore it is important that you learn as much as possible in this training so that once deployed, you can support well-our teams in the provinces to roll out the vaccines, as the vaccines are very important to help prevent our people from falling very sick, hospitalized and die from COVID-19”, said Dr Bainivalu.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is working hard to reach 70 percent coverage of vaccine-eligible persons before the borders fully open at the end of July 2022 and 90 percent coverage by December 2022.
Dr Bainivalu also acknowledged the participants for their commitment and dedication to their work and thanked WHO, UNICEF and the National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance, New South Wales for supporting the training and the overall roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Solomon Islands.
UNICEF’s Expanded Program of Immunization Consultant, Dr. Arnold Calo-oy, and WHO’s Technical Officer MCH/GBV, Dr. Sonja Tanevska, echoed similar sentiments of concern that once the border opens, there are possibilities that new variants of COVID-19 will enter the country and mutations will occur.
The training will extensively boost the human resource capacity that the vaccination roll-out programme needs very much, including risk communication and awareness to ensure right information is provided to communities.
Concerns around measles and other vaccine preventable diseases outbreak amongst children under two years of age were expressed as the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out has also impacted routine immunization. Therefore, the additional capacity and manpower will greatly support roll out of the routine immunization program.
The Ministry of Health would like to acknowledge the World Health Organization for ongoing partnership and for providing the funding support towards this training.