Health Minister Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana has once again expressed sincere appreciation towards the government and people of the United States for providing 1 hundred thousand, 6 hundred and 20 doses of Pfizer vaccines that will be targeted towards vaccinating children 12 to below 18 years of age and pregnant women.
He expressed appreciation on behalf of the government and people of Solomon Islands when delivering key- note address at the launching of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine roll out program last week in Honiara.
“So thank you indeed to the government and people of the United States for providing this Pfizer to Solomon Islands through the COVAX Facility, responsible to enquiring equitable distribution of COVID-019 vaccines around the world, Solomon Islands now being a recipient of this COVID-19 equitable distribution initiative”.
Dr Togamana stated that while current efforts are with getting all 18 years and above to be fully vaccinated, the provision of the Pfizer vaccine is important to ensure that other groups of the population have the opportunity to be protected against the severe effects of COVID-19.
“Truly no one is safe until everyone is safe therefore to achieve it we need all groups in our society to be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Solomon Islands is very fortunate to be able to acquire these COVID-19 vaccines throughout this year. There were doubts and worries that comes along with our struggle to get these vaccines, given the high global demand for them. Now we have the opportunity let’s not waste it but use it to our advantage”, said the Minister.
He also thanked UNICEF and WHO for all the support in moving the vaccines to the country and relevant technical training of health workers to handle and administer the vaccines as well as provision of several Ultra-Cold fridges at the National Medical Store as the vaccines requires between – (negative) 70 to 90 degree Celsius storage temperatures.
Director U.S Embassy Office in Solomon Islands Mr. Russ Comeau in his remarks commended the Honourable Prime Minister and the government for their success so far in preventing a community transmission of the virus.
He however reinforced the message of borders opening now so people needed to get vaccinated. “The unfortunate fact is that our economy, and people’s livelihoods, depend on reopening the borders. As Prime Minister Sogavare himself has said: “Solomon Islands cannot stay locked up from the rest of the world forever. The first jab of the Pfizer vaccine today is a next step towards reopening – smartly, safely, and securely – with every eligible individual – man, woman, and child – in Solomon Islands vaccinated against COVID-19”.
“The United States is honored to have donated the 100,620 Pfizer vaccine doses to help make this happen. These vaccines have been prioritized for youth aged 12 to below 18 years old and pregnant mothers. The Pfizer vaccines are completely safe to be administered to these vulnerable groups, I know, because the United States has undertaken a similar effort”. Stated Mr. Comeau.
He added that the U.S. is leading the world in vaccinating our youth against COVID-19. “To date, we have vaccinated over 15 million adolescents. Vaccinating our kids protects them and protects everyone around them. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant mothers in the United States have also received COVID-19 vaccines, including the Pfizer jabs on offer today. A growing body of evidence suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy outweigh any potential risks of vaccination”,
“We’ve helped vaccinate youth and pregnant mothers, not just at home, but around the world. The United States remains the largest contributor to COVAX, providing $4 billion to support the global effort to provide safe and effective vaccines. We’ve also donated more than 200 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX facility. And more than 800,000 of those came right here, to the Pacific Islands”, explained Mr. Comeau.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out from National Referral Hospital and will soon be available at selected clinics in Honiara and Guadalcanal Province. Once the schools open, the vaccine will be offered to 12-18 years children in the schools. This vaccine expires in June 2022 and it is important that the vaccine is used before that and MHMS urges all those eligible to come and receive the vaccine now.
For any further media enquiries, please contact Atenia Tahu on phone 7478857 or email ATahu@moh.gov.sb.