The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) would like to respond to a number of concerns raised regarding the vaccinating nurses not wearing masks and gloves when administering the COVID-19 vaccines.
It must be noted that this had already been part of the discussion of health when preparing the Central Field Hospital for vaccination and conveyed during training of the vaccinators.
The decision not to wear the protective gears is because the AstraZeneca vaccine contains non-replication adenovirus with COVID-19 gene. This means there is no risk of the nurses from contracting COVID-19 nor transmitting it to the vaccine receiver when preparing for vaccination and during its administration.
All nurses as per the protocol set in place wash their hands with 70 percent alcohol hand sanitizer before preparing and administrating the vaccine to the recipient and after vaccination.
To date there is no COVID-19 cases and no community transmission or spread in the communities therefore, it is absolutely unnecessary to wear the protective gears. Wearing them will be waste of our limited resources which should be avoided.
The routine immunization programme in Solomon Islands does not advocate use of masks and gloves.
Wearing of protective gears when administering vaccines are seen online and on television in countries where there is already community transmission and the protective gears are used to protect the vaccinator from any possible transmission from the people who come for vaccination.
As such, health would like to inform the public that the administration of the vaccine with nurses not wearing the hand gloves and masks does not pose any COVID-19 risks or any other infectious diseases as all other appropriate infection, prevention and control measures are employed.