Church leaders and other faith group representatives are currently undergoing awareness sessions relating to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The awareness sessions are being conducted by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), which included a visit to the Central Field Hospital.

Health Promotion Director Adrian Leamana highlighted that churches are a very influential institution in our country with the power to influence and shape public perception.

“As such, getting them on board to support the uptake of COVID-19 vaccine is very crucial in the current efforts of health to encourage the public to come forward to receive the vaccine once their turn comes”.

“Thank you to all our churches for your attendance today and health is looking forward towards your continued support as it progresses with its vaccination program”, stated Mr. Leamana.

Around 30 participants attended the awareness, which was organized and facilitated by the Ministry of Health’s National Health Promotion Department in collaboration with the COVID-19 vaccine Technical Working Group.

Health Technical Advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri and Dr Simon Burggraaf from the World Health Organization (WHO) facilitated the presentation and discussion around the development of the COVID-19 vaccines.  

They explained that vaccines that are listed by WHO for emergency use included the AstraZeneca vaccine. Such listing means that they are safe and have shown to be effective. Question and answer sessions were also conducted to address existing fears and anxieties from the participants.

The awareness concluded with a brief walk through the vaccination site, Central Field Hospital where the church leaders and representative were offered the opportunity to see first- hand workflow for vaccinations and the actual administration of the vaccine by health workers.

The awareness team will also be deployed to the western border to support provincial health promotion officers there.  They will conduct community level awareness of the AstraZeneca vaccine to prepare communities for the planned vaccination program in the coming days and weeks.

Source: MHMS Press Release