2,651 individuals have been vaccinated in Honiara since the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Solomon Islands recently received 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility. 17,000 has been allocated for border communities while 7,000 is slotted for Honiara – targeting frontliners, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the country will expect to receive the remaining 84,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines in the coming months from the 108,000 doses initially allocated to Solomon Islands through the COVAX Facility

In addition, India has responded favourably to the government’s request for 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines. Arrangements are now underway for finalization of paperwork after which the government will be informed of the specific delivery and logistics arrangements.

But in a recent forum by the government with members of the public, there were scepticisms raised on the AstraZeneca vaccines from India.

Responding to the queries, Dr Yogesh from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) says the vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

“They did all the research and development. They have limited capacity to produce the vaccine. So they went to India, they went to Korea and now to Australia. They gave the technology to them and they said, you produce the vaccine for us. WHO also examines the manufacturing plant as part of their approval process. They observe the manufacturing done by India, Korea and now Australia and then that is how they approve the AstraZeneca vaccine”, Dr. Yogesh says.

Dr. Yogesh says the same company in India also manufactured the polio and measles vaccines.

Awareness meetings were already made in the Western, Choiseul and Malaita Outer Islands where the communities will be the first to be vaccinated in the provinces.

“It is our hope that COVID-19 vaccination will start rolling out in Western Province as early as next Monday, 12th April 2021 to be followed closely by the roll out in Choiseul province and then Malaita outer Islands”, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says in his most recent statement on Tuesday 6th April.

“Most of the front-liners in health, police and border agencies have been vaccinated. Let me thank the front-liners for ensuring you are protected first so that you can protect others. I encourage the remaining front-liners to please go and take your COVID-19 vaccines this week”, Sogavare says.

The government now calls on Solomon Islanders over 40 years of age with co-morbidities to present themselves to the Central Field Hospital as of Monday 12th April to get their first vaccination.

Comorbidity in medical terms simply means more than one illness or disease in a person at the same time. Those over the age of 40 with existing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma are the ones called on to present themselves to the Central Field hospital with their medical records for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Those over 40 years old with no other existing disease such as diabetes, or high blood pressure or asthma etc, will be vaccinated in future roll-out phases of the vaccination program.