With continuous significant levels of fear and anxiety around COVID-19 in Choiseul province, National Health Promotion Teams together with Expanded Program of Immunization personnel were deployed recently to Choiseul to hold further COVID-19 awareness and community engagement to support uptake of vaccines.
Around 50 participants of these leaders, which comprised of chiefs, women group leaders, church and youth leaders gathered in Taro for the awareness and engagement workshop.
The aim of the gathering was to establish link focal points between community members and the health workers to strengthen up cooperation, for participants to be able to advocate and mobilize community members for uptake of COVID-19 vaccines. It was to also ensure that community leaders support the vaccine through helping health with identification of vaccine eligible persons within their communities for targeted awareness and encouragement for vaccine uptake.
Director Health, Choiseul Province Mr. William Timba, thanked the community leaders for their participation stating that only through such partnerships the province can successfully roll out COVID-19 vaccination programs.
“I thank all community leaders who have participated in previous awareness programs and this recent program. Truly, Choiseul province will not be able to achieve its target population in terms of COVID-19 vaccination without your support in the midst of all the fears and anxieties that surrounds these vaccines. Together we can do it and thank so much for the support displayed in throughout the training workshop” highlighted Mr Timba.
Health promotion officers used the opportunity to address myths about the vaccines as magnet and microchips used to monitor human beings, that the vaccines are the mark of the beast or 666 and are biological weapons to kill.
On this note, the Ministry of Health would like to reiterate that COVID-19 vaccines comes in liquid form and administered through a tiny needle. Microchips or magnets on the other hand are metal thus it would be impossible to administer metal into the human body through a tiny needle. It is not a microchip nor a magnet.
Some even used coins sticking to their bodies or side arm to demonstrate that vaccines are magnets. Coins sticking to our skin is not new, many have in the past and in most cases after sweating can easily get metals such as the coins to stuck on their skin. It is not the vaccines that caused the coins to stuck.
The vaccines are not biological weapons to kill. It is the COVID-19 virus that kills. To date over 4.3 million people have lost their lives to the virus and millions have fallen severely ill and hospitalized from COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health would also like to thank many church leaders, Archbishops, Reverends, Priests and clergymen who have come forward to get vaccinated and continuously advocated and encourage people to receive their vaccination.
Health fully understand that rumours and the fears, anxieties against COVID-19 vaccines is not only in Solomon Islands but everywhere else around the globe therefore it will continuously work closely with its partners to address these.
Public are encouraged to rely on the Ministry of Health and its partners such as WHO and UNICEF for credible information regarding COVID-19 vaccines, its safety and efficacy. Should there be need for awareness in your communities, please do not hesitate but call 115 and speak to one of our operators to liaise with health promotion unit for scheduling of COVID-19 awareness or COVID-19 vaccine awareness.
The Ministry of Health acknowledge the great work so far done by Choiseul Province including all other provinces in rolling out the provinces COVID-19 vaccination programs.
As of Friday last week 3,308 people in Choiseul have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 15.4% of the vaccine eligible population and 2,539 people having received their first dose, 11.9% of the eligible target population.