Dr Sevil Huseynova WHO’s (World Health Organization) Country Representative in Solomon Islands assured pregnant women including children 12 to below 18 years of age to not be afraid but come forward to get their first dose of Pfizer vaccines.
She made the statement during the launch of the Pfizer vaccine last week Thursday. In her remarks, Dr Huseynova explained that WHO recommends the use of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women when the benefits of vaccination outweigh potential risks adding that pregnant women who are older, overweight or have pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes are particularly at greater risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.
“Clinical trials on the Pfizer vaccine has provided reassurance that vaccination during pregnancy is not linked with any additional pregnancy, birth or newborn complications so do not be afraid but come forward and get yourselves vaccinated”, she urged.
With children, she explained that it is crucial that they get vaccinated as they make up most of the young population. “The Solomon Islands has a very young population where 0-14 years is 32.99% and 15-24 years is 19.82%, this should indicate to all health professionals that more priority needs to be given to this group. Ensuring protection for children that constitutes almost half of the total population seems essential to expand coverage of vaccination in the country. WHO has granted Pfizer vaccine clearance in terms of quality, safety, and efficacy rate of 95% against symptomatic coronavirus infection and against a variety of coronavirus variants”.
The WHO Country Representative also used the occasion to highlight global and regional COVID-19 vaccination coverage as of sixth (6th) of December.
“World-wide, around 8.1 billion doses of vaccines have been administered as of 6 December and 54% of the total population across the WHO Member States have had at least one COVID-19 dose. Our region, the Western Pacific Region has been in a better position as compared to the rest of the world”,
“Of the 1.9 billion population, 66% have been fully vaccinated and 76% have been given first doses. In terms of coverage for priority groups, 27 (78%) have fully vaccinated their health care workers; 21 (57%) have fully vaccinated elderly, and 30 countries and areas (81%) have achieved the end of year global target of 40% full vaccination for entire population”, said Dr Huseynova.
She also acknowledged donors and partners, US, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the COVAX Facility including UNICEF and the lead government agency, Ministry of Health for the great team work and effort so far that had enabled the availability and distribution of the vaccines in country for the people of Solomon Islands.
She however cautioned that vaccines itself is not enough and that people still need to maintain public health measures that work such as wearing of masks, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, respiratory and cough hygiene, avoiding crowds and ensuring good ventilation.
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