PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has welcomed the offer by the Australian Government to donate 60,000 doses of AstraZeneca to Solomon Islands.
The vaccines are manufactured from the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories [CSL] in Melbourne.
The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands is one of four countries in the region that had been prioritized to be the first recipients of the CSL manufactured AstraZeneca Vaccines.
The others are Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.
“On behalf of my government, I thank the Government of Australia for this tremendous donation of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccines which my government accepts,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the National Drugs, Medicine and Therapeutic Committee of Solomon Islands would be meeting this week to consider its approval and use in Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Sogavare said Australia plans to transport 10,000 doses of the CSL vaccines per week for the first 60.000 doses.
Prime Minister Sogavare said our initial allocation of 10,000 doses were re-allocated to Timor Leste to ensure our National Drugs, Medicines and Therapeutics Committee had the opportunity to first consider and approve its use.
The Prime Minister said the CSL AstraZeneca vaccines are manufactured using the exact same formula as the AstraZeneca vaccines previously received from India.
“So far, they have rolled out more than 700,000 doses in Australia,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the COVID-19 situation in India has affected the global supplies from India and could potentially delay the supply of AstraZeneca vaccines from India.
“I am extremely pleased that the government of Australia has stepped in to ensure we receive a regular supply of AstraZeneca vaccines in the next couple of months,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the Australian Government has also indicated their willingness to provide more doses of the CSL AstraZeneca vaccines to Solomon Islands over and above the initial allocation of 60,000 doses from India.
“In this regard, I have directed the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to expedite the analysis and recommendation on the total number of additional doses of the CSL AstraZeneca vaccines the government will request from the Australian government in the next few days,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the request would incorporate our intention to fully vaccinate the total eligible population in Solomon Islands by December this year.
“I am greatly confident that between the COVAX facility, Australia, India, and China together with support from other partners, my government will secure the pre-requisite number of vaccines to cover the whole country by December this year,” he said.