“When AstraZeneca Vaccine is rolled out in the Shortland Islands Communities, I as the Premier, the leader of Western Province will be the first to receive the vaccine”.

Western Province Premier, Honourable David Gina made this statement at an extra ordinary Provincial Assembly Meeting this week in Gizo, with the presence of National Health Staff deployed to the Western Province to conduct vaccination training for provincial health staff.

Hon. Gina explained that when we feel sick we run to health for advice and treatment and this should not be any different when it comes to prevention against sickness and diseases, in this case COVID-19.

“As such, to demonstrate my trust in our health authorities I have decided to be the first to receive the vaccine before my good people can follow suit”, stated the Premier.

The statement was applauded by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Mrs. Pauline McNeil who thanked the Premier for demonstrating courage and true spirit of leadership.

"There remains quite significant amount of fear and anxiety amongst the public for the uptake of the vaccine and our leaders need to come out publicly and support the vaccination campaign as this is one of the most effective ways in which we can prevent being sick, hospitalized and die from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It does not take us to see beyond our region the impact of COVID-19, it is just a mile or two beyond our western border thus, health is working very hard to make all necessary preparations and will swiftly move to vaccinate all persons 18 years and above along our western border communities”, stated Mrs McNeil.

She said that the major concern is with these eligible people not coming forward to receive the vaccine once it is rolled out. She say there are teams already down at the border conducting vaccine awareness and mobilizing support from chiefs, community elders, church leaders, women and youth groups.

"In this endeavour, we deeply appreciate every single encouragement and support of our leaders towards the uptake and roll out of the vaccines. Thank you Premier, thank you so much”, stated Mrs McNeil.

Source: MHMS Media Release