Rennell and Bellona (Renbel) province is the latest province to have successfully launched its COVID-19 vaccination program.

The launching took place Wednesday last week, with over 200 people gathered at the Renbel provincial capital, Tingoa to join the launch program.

Renbel provincial health director George Pego welcomed the provincial premier, executive and assembly members, community and church leaders, elders and chiefs and health workers in Honiara deployed to Renbel to support the roll out including National Head of Nursing representing the Ministry of Health Senior Executive Management and the public at the event.

“I welcome you all to this important event that marks the official launching and commencement of the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in Rennell and Bellona province. Big welcome indeed and thank you for making the effort to attend this launch”.

Mr Pego outlined the preparations that the provincial health team have undertaken prior to the launch.

“Cold chain assessment to ensure that storage capacity meets necessary requirements was conducted and I am happy to inform you all that we are now ready to distribute and administer the vaccines.

"All personals to be engaged in the roll out of the vaccines have been trained and ready to receive their jabs today as part of preparations to roll out the vaccines. While waiting for further support we have mobilized provincial health resources to ensure timely deployment of teams and vaccines. 

“Roll out plans have been finalized and will involve three teams, Tingoa, Tegano and Bellona, which will comprise of 8-10 members that constitute the tasks involved for pre vaccine health check, registration, administration and monitoring for side effects as well as risk communication. We are ready”, said Mr Pego.

Mr Michael Larui, MHMS National Director of Nursing in his remarks acknowledged the support from Renbel premier, executive and assembly, the provincial health director and emergency operation centre team, community and church leaders and elders for supporting preparations for vaccine roll out and the launch itself.

“Allow me to share that with the recent 36 hours lockdown in Honiara, health conducted its lockdown operations review and found that whilst there are improvements, there are also gaps, challenges and issues, therefore our best option for now is to ensure that all persons 18 years and above get vaccinated”, said Mr. Larui.

Mr Larui also conveyed regional statistics of cases and deaths including those of neighbouring countries like Fiji and Papua New Guinea where COVID-19 has greatly impacted their health systems and people. “So let’s not wait but get vaccinated. That said let me wish the Renbel province all the best in its roll out of COVID-19 vaccination across the province”.

Premier of Rennell and Bellona Hon. Willy Tuhagenga expressed sincere thanks towards the National and Provincial Ministry of Health for efforts to deploy the vaccines to Renbel together with all necessary preparations.

He also acknowledged donors and development partners such as People’s Republic of China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the COVAX Facility with support from WHO and UNICEFF who have to date donated and provided COVID-19 vaccines, part of which has been allocated to Renbel.

Source: MHMS Media