Rennell and Bellona (Renbel) province is the latest province to have successfully launched its COVID-19 vaccination roll out program Wednesday this week, followed by Makira province on Thursday. This leaves only Temotu province, the final province to launch its COVID-19 vaccination roll out program before nation-wide launch and commencement of roll out is completed.
Over 200 people gathered at the Renbel provincial capital, Tingoa to join the launch program.
Delivering his address at the event, Renbel provincial health director George Pego, welcomed the provincial premier, executive and assembly members, community and church leaders, elders and chiefs and health workers in Honiara deployed to Renbel to support the roll out including National Head of Nursing representing the Ministry of Health Senior Executive Management and the public at the event.
“I welcome you all to this important event that marks the official launching and commencement of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in Rennell and Bellona province. Big welcome indeed and thank you for making the effort to attend this launch”.
Mr Pego outlined the preparations that the provincial health team have undertaken prior to the launch.
“Cold chain assessment to ensure that storage capacity meets necessary requirements conducted and happy to inform that we are now ready to distribute and administer the vaccines. All personals to be engaged in the roll out of the vaccines have been trained ready to receive their jabs today as part of preparations to roll out the vaccines. While waiting for further support we have mobilized provincial health resources to ensure timely deployment of teams and vaccines”,
“ Roll out plan finalized and will involve three teams, Tingoa, Tegano and Bellona, which will comprise of 8-10 members that constitute the tasks involved for pre vaccine health check, registration, administration and monitoring for side effects as well as risk communication. We are ready”, said Mr Pego.
Mr Michael Larui, MHMS National Director of Nursing in his remarks acknowledged the support from Renbel premier, executive and assembly, the provincial health director and emergency operation centre team, community and church leaders and elders for supporting preparations for vaccine roll out and the launch itself.
“Allow me to share that with the recent 36 hours lockdown in Honiara, health conducted its lockdown operations review and found that whilst there are improvements, there are also gaps, challenges and issues, therefore our best option for now is to ensure that all persons 18 years and above get vaccinated”, said Mr. Larui.
Mr Larui also conveyed regional statistics of cases and deaths including those of neighbouring countries like Fiji and Papua New Guinea where COVID-19 has greatly impacted their health systems and people. “ So let’s not wait but get vaccinated. That said let me wish the Renbel province all the best in its roll out of COVID-19 vaccination across the province”.
Delivering key- note address at the launch, the Premier of Rennell and Bellona Hon. Willy Tuhagenga expressed sincere thanks towards the National and Provincial Ministry of Health for efforts to deploy the vaccines to Renbel together with all necessary preparations. He also acknowledged donors and development partners such as People’s Republic of China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the COVAX Facility with support from WHO and UNICEFF who have to date donated and provided COVID-19 vaccines, part of which has been allocated to Renbel.
“Getting these vaccines into the country is not an easy task, therefore I thank the DCCG government, Oversight Committee and all others for contributions made towards getting these important vaccines into the country and our province”,
“My good people given the state of our health systems, challenges with access to specialist health care and our population size, a community transmission will indeed be devastating for us. Therefore you will not regret your choice of taking your jab as of today”, said Hon. Tuhagenga.
He call on the people of Renbel to not believe any rumours or information that are not from reliable sources such as social media and non-health workers and to only trust vaccine information from Health authorities and technical agencies such as WHO and UNICEF.
“That said I wish to call on community chiefs and elders, church leaders, and all persons 18 years and above to come forward and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Let us support this roll out program. My government assures of its commitment to support the roll out and to demonstrate this I am offering myself to be the first to take my jab and urge you all to follow suit”, said the premier.
On the launch date 54 people came on that day to get their first vaccine dose including government ministry personals, health and police, community and church leaders.