A two days National COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out Planning meeting started today in Honiara with participation of around 70 provincial health directors and health workers from various relevant health sections both from Honiara and from the Provinces.
Various components of the COVID-19 vaccination processes from oversight support, policy and planning, risk communication, vaccines and vaccine administration, Cold Chain management to human resources, logistics, budget, roll out strategies, and lessons learnt etc. are key agendas of the meeting enabling the development of the Master COVID-19 Provincial Vaccination Plans.
Health Minister Hon. Dr. Culwick Togamana in delivering key note address to open the meeting strongly emphasized that there is no time to waste and we should expedite all preparations and commence the roll out.
“We don’t need to look far beyond our region to see the devastating impact of COVID-19 not only to the health but almost all aspects of people’s livelihood. In neighbouring Fiji in the last 24 hours there have been 279 new COVID-19 cases with cumulative total of 2,549 cases and 13 deaths. In Papua New Guinea, cumulative 17,079 with 173 deaths. These come along with lockdowns, movement restrictions and consequently loss of jobs, effect on social life and so forth”.
“Therefore, COVID-19 threat remains a grave concern for us and in order to effectively and efficiently move to protect our country against it, all persons 18 years and above simply need to come forward to receive the vaccines”, stated Minister Togamana.
He also acknowledged bilateral partners, Australia and New Zealand through COVAX for the provision of additional stock of vaccines received last week.
“These additional stock and commitments for more stocks in the coming weeks by Australia, New Zealand and other bi lateral partners have enabled the ministry to commence nationwide roll out for all eligible population. Therefore, sincere thanks to our partners”.
In his closing remarks, Dr Togamana encouraged participants to be engaged and contribute meaningfully. “This is the only opportunity we have to properly lay the foundation based on experience and evidences at hand for the development of a Master COVID-19 Provincial Rollout Plans for the government to support through the Ministry.
The meeting today followed a three days COVID-19 vaccination training also held this week for all relevant national and provincial health workers who will be deployed to the provinces for further trainings in the coming days as part of the national preparation to roll out COVID-19 to all eligible persons across the country.
This will be followed by 2 back to back workshops of 127 nurses who will be trained in all aspects of COVID vaccination and will be deployed to provinces to support the provincial teams.