With the current eligibility criteria that only allows persons 18 years and above to receive COVID-19 vaccines, protection of all children 18 years and below against COVID-19 infection is entirely dependent on all those eligible people (18 years and above).
Essentially this means that with COVID-19 vaccination, the country can only reach its fullest potential in protecting itself against the virus if all persons 18 years and above are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with 1st and 2nd doses.
Based on 2019 Census’s provisional figures, Solomon Islands has around 318,000 persons 18 years and below. With the total population of 721,455 as per the 2019 National Census, the country needs to vaccinate with completed doses 1st and 2nd for around 403,000 people.
To date Monday 12 of July, 8389 people have been fully vaccinated. This is around 2 percent coverage of the eligible population with 13,000 people having received their 1st dose and are expected to receive their 2nd in the coming days, weeks and months which will see coverage of persons fully vaccinated increase to around 4 percent.
The Ministry of Health is aware of the risk such low coverage poses on our population and more especially our children who have no other option but to rely on vaccinated adults for their protection. Thus, with the completion of its roll out to all priority groups in Honiara and along the western border, it had moved to open vaccination for all persons 18 years and above, with commencement of implementing its COVID-19 National Roll-out plan.
This will see increased number of vaccination sites, which has already commenced for Honiara City Council and Guadalcanal province; vaccines brought closer to homes by outreach vaccination teams and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the provinces.
Thanks to donors and development partners who have provided the COVID-19 vaccines with over a hundred thousand already in country with commitments for more supplies in the coming months.
While the ministry and partners can work hard to make these vaccines available to all of us, we must also play our part in coming forward to receive the vaccines. Otherwise, we will continue to have gaps of unvaccinated persons for the virus to penetrate into our communities, society and to our children.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE COVID-19. The Protection of this country is squarely and entirely dependent on all of us who are 18 years and above to get vaccinated. We are all accountable so please let’s all act responsibly and come forward for the COVID-19 Vaccines. We are all in this together.
All persons 18 years and above come forward and get vaccinated once vaccines are available in our areas.