The Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to issue a clarification on the priority groups that need to be vaccinated in Phase I roll out of COVID-19 vaccine. As informed earlier, out of 24,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine received, 7000 are being proposed for Honiara and remaining 17,000 will be sent to Western Borders.
Following estimates on the anticipated vaccine roll out at the end of day 4, the MHMS has revised its order of priority groups to receive the vaccines.
The new order is as follows, front-liners as being the top priority group followed by people the age of 55 years with underlying health conditions, public figures and influencers (limited number) and COVID-19 ex-positives.
With the frontline groups, the parent ministry must identify names and send through to the Medical Officer in Charge of the vaccination site, the Central Field Hospital, Dr Sarah Habu on email SHabu@moh.gov.sb.
For people above 55 years with underlying health conditions such as heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. they will need to carry their medical card or certificate from the a doctor about their medical condition when they come for vaccination.
For other groups, below 55 years with underlying health conditions, those above 65 years and those essential workers or COVID-19 operations support staff (non-front-liners), they will be included for left over doses at the end of each day.
With the AstraZeneca vaccine, the doses are stored in vials. For each vials, there are 10 doses that has to be used within six hours from the time the vial is opened. Usually at the end of the day when vaccination is about to close, there are already opened vials with few doses that still needs to be used, therefore to avoid wastage, these doses will be given to the other groups outlined above.
Practically this would require these “other groups” to come and share their contact details with health staff at the registration desk outside of the field hospital and return home or call the Central Field Hospital landline 22434 to leave your details. Should there be left over doses expected towards the end of the day, they will be contacted to receive their first dose of vaccine.
The Ministry had to come to this decision to ensure that we vaccinate most at risk of contracting the virus (front liners), those at high risk of illness, hospitalization and death by COVID-19 ( above 55 with underlying health condition).
Also note that this will change as vaccination progresses and any changes will be communicated accordingly.