The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and provincial health workers in Malaita Province have launched the COVID-19 vaccination program in Auki, Malaita.

The launch marks the beginning of vaccine roll out for all persons 18 years and above in the province. In a show of support the acting Premier of Malaita, Hon. Randle Sifoni, and the acting Provincial Health Director Dr Danny Danitofea were amongst the first to take the COVID-19 vaccination.

Malaita Provincial Health Director, acting, Dr David Danitofea said that there is a need for all Malaita people to get vaccinated ahead of any possible entry and community transmission of COVID-19 in the province.

“Our provincial health systems, capacities and capabilities will not be able to respond to a community transmission, let alone the national health system. We do not need to look far beyond our region to understand the magnitude of COVID-19 impact, our neighbour Fiji even with much enhanced health systems are suffering from the devastation of COVID-19 with the delta variant.

“To date, over 38,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths in Fiji due to the COVID-19 delta variant, our province is not ready if there is community spread. Therefore, these vaccines launched offers us a wonderful opportunity to enable us stay protected against the health risks of COVID-19”, explained Dr Danitofea.

Mr. Ivan Ghemu, Director Policy and Planning of the National Ministry of Health also echoed similar sentiments while highlighting the safety of the vaccines.

“To date we have administered over 55,000 COVID-19 doses with not a single death. All minor side-effects subsided and disappeared in 1 to 2 days and one (1) severe reaction case of Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) was managed by doctors on site.

“Do not be afraid, it is COVID-19 that kills and threaten our health, you now have the opportunity to protect yourselves, families and communities against COVID-19, so come and get vaccinated,” Mr. Ghemu said.

He urged Malaitans not to trust vaccine misinformation, especially rumours and claims from unverified sources spreading online, but to only trust those coming from the Ministry of Health and partners such as WHO and UNICEF.

Acting Premier of Malaita Province Hon. Randle Sifoni, acknowledges the efforts of the national government through the Ministry of Health in keeping the country safe from COVID-19 and the Delta variant until today.

“Having the largest population in Solomon Islands including in the capital Honiara, Malaita province is at high risk from possible COVID-19 entry and community transmission from ports of entry in the capital and other provinces.

“As such, towards the end of last month, the Executive resolved that regardless of the fact that we are in a democratic society where you all can choose freely, as much as possible we want all of you to get vaccinated noting the national government, no jab, no job policy”, said Mr Sifoni.

“I as the deputy premier of Malaita province now declare that COVID-19 vaccination program in Malaita province is open, may god bless Malaita and may God bless Solomon Islands.”

With MHMS Media Release