Data shows that the vast majority of those that contract the new variant Omicron experience mild symptoms, and are able to isolate and recover at home without much complications.

But this is the experience for those that are fully vaccinated - for those that are not vaccinated the threat of Omicron is real, and must be taken seriously.

Data shows that Omicron spreads faster than any of the other variants, making it near impossible to stop, or slow down, should there be community transmission.

In neighboring Fiji, where vaccination rates are some of the highest in the world, their borders will remain open despite the detection of Omicron in their community.

This is only possible because of their vaccination coverage, meaning they are quite capable of getting on with their lives and with their economic recovery even with Omicron.

Unfortunately for Solomon Islands, where vaccination rates are some of lowest in the world, the population is exposed and therefore vulnerable - chances are many will get very sick should the Omicron virus spread and infection rates surge.

Our hospital and clinics are already stretched as it is, so if there is an outbreak non-COVID treatment will become even more difficult to access. People may end up dying from diseases other than COVID, this is what is happening in other countries.

Our government, with the support of development partners, have provided vaccines to protect all of us. It is our collective responsibility to create a safe environment for our family, community and country – that means taking the vaccine.

Let us all make it our New Year’s Resolution to come forward and get the jab – protecting our family, community and country is everyone’s business, not just the governments.