PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says he is willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine to demonstrate his confidence in its safety.
Prime Minister Sogavare said he is aware of many commentaries in the social media for leaders including himself to first receive the vaccine before the general populace.
Therefore, the Prime Minister said he is willing to do so when his turn comes.
“I assure you all that I will willingly take the COVID-19 vaccine when my turn comes to demonstrate my confidence in the safety of the vaccine which will also offer me protection from COVID-19,” the Prime Minister highlighted this during his nationwide address on Monday this week.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the first orders for the AstraZeneca vaccine had already been placed by our in-country partner, UNICEF through its supply division.
He said the country is expected to receive the first tranche of 24,000 doses of the vaccine this month.
“Training has commenced on the administration of the vaccine. Venues have also been identified to roll out the vaccine after its arrival,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the AstraZeneca vaccine have been approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use.
He said the WHO approval has given us the confidence that it is safe and effective to protect the recipient from COVID-19.
The Prime Minister said the Government is also considering other vaccines including the Sinopharm vaccine.
“We will also be receiving 20,000 does of this vaccine in April and we will also roll it out as soon as the World Health Organization approves it for emergency use,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said health authorities are now finalizing the vaccination roll out plan for the first tranche of vaccines.
“It is also the wish of my government that the people living along the western border will benefit from the first roll out of either of the two vaccines we anticipate in the country by April this year,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said with the rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation on Bougainville, we must include COVID-19 vaccination along the border communities in addition to our efforts to prevent people from crossing the border from Bougainville to Solomon Islands.