The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has commenced the implementation of its COVID-19 vaccine sensitizing trainings as part of the COVID-19 vaccine national communication strategy roll out to encourage the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine once available in country.
With confirmation on the first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine scheduled to arrive this month, the MHMS’s COVID-19 vaccine technical working group in collaboration with health promotion officers conducted the first COVID-19 vaccine sensitization training with the first group of health workers at the Ministry’s head quarter, Friday last week.
The training involved presentations on the AstraZeneca vaccine, its safety, efficacy, potency and the national deployment and roll out plan outlining the target groups of people whom the initial batches of vaccines will target and how the vaccine will be administered and the controlled environment in which it will be administered.
Chair of the COVID-19 vaccine technical working group, Dr Divinal Ogaoga explained the roll out of the awareness component of the vaccine communication strategy.
“Since the first 24,000 dosage of AstraZeneca vaccine, that will arrive this month, will be administered within Honiara, we are focusing the sensitizing trainings in Honiara in line with the priority target groups as per the National COVID-19 vaccine deployment and roll out plan”, explained Dr Ogaoga.
Dr Ogaoga said, “thus, in the next two to three weeks we will be running these sensitizing trainings and awareness activities with these priority groups, the COVID-19 frontline workers, which comprised of health, police, immigration, customs and to the elderlies, 55 years and above and those with existing underlying health conditions”, Explained Dr Ogaoga.
He added that the targeted sensitization and awareness activities for these specific groups will ran in parallel with other communication activities for the broader audiences, the public, to support some of the already existing communication activities and channels, promoting the vaccine such as the fortnightly national address by the Prime Minister and the COVID-19 oversight committee talk back shows.
Attending the vaccine training, the nursing division, environmental health, non- communicable, social welfare and nutrition and reproductive health teams attended with similar trainings scheduled for remaining departments this week. The training will continue to cover all other health departments including the National Referral Hospital (NRH), Honiara City Council and Guadalcanal Provincial health teams.
This will be followed by COVID-19 frontline workers from other government ministries, agencies, and eventually other priority groups including the media.