Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has on Friday 21 of May launched the Chinese-Made Sinopharm Vaccine with his Deputy Honourable Manasseh Maelanga the first to receive the first Sinopharm dose together with 54 other individuals which includes some government ministers.
The launch followed the recent approval by WHO of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and certification for distribution by the Solomon Islands Medicine and Therapeutic Committee. This means they are safe to use and effective to prevent severe illness and death from COVID-19.
In opening the event this afternoon, Health Minister Honourable Dr Culwick Togamana said that all necessary preparations to roll out the Sinopharm have been completed.
“This week has been a very busy week for my ministry as we have conducted review of COVID-19 vaccination operation and roll out for improvements, as well as training for health workers on the Sinopharm to ensure that they are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to handle and administer the vaccine”, stated the Minister.
He added, “with this my ministry is ready to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine and once your turn comes to receive the vaccine, please do come forward and get your jab done and together protect our country against COVID-19 global pandemic”.
People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ambassador to Solomon Islands Mr Li Ming in his remarks highlighted that China is pleased to have provided the 50,000 doses of Sinopharm to Solomon Islands.
“We are indeed pleased as the 50,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine demonstrates our genuine friendship and trustworthy partnership. The delivery, launch and roll out of Sinopharm makes Solomon Islands the first in the Pacific to receive and roll out the Chinese vaccines”, stated Ambassador Li.
He said that based on the concept of Building a Global Community of Health for all as proposed by the President of China, Xi Jinping, China stands ready to provide more assistance to Solomon Islands in the fight against COVID-19.
In delivering the key -note address, Prime Minster Manasseh Sogavare thanked the government and people of China.
“Today I stand to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to the President of China Xi Jinping, the government of China and the people for positively responding to our request with the allocation of 50,000 Sinopharm doses for our people. These will help us to achieve our ultimate goal that is to vaccine all people in the country eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines”, explained Mr. Sogavare.
He went on to highlight that the COVID-19 global situation had disrupted global production and shipments of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe and coupled with high global demand for the vaccines, has led the government to request COVID-19 vaccines to China.
“Imagine if we had waited for WHO approval before making request to China, we would have to wait for weeks or even months before it arrives. This is the rationale behind government decision to preposition the vaccines in country so once it is approved, roll out can commence immediately, exactly what we are doing now”.
The 50,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine will be administered to 25,000 people so they can receive their second dose at an interval of 4 weeks.