Preparation are underway for the launch of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine today.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) held a one- day training this week to prepare health workers for the Sinopharm roll out.

At the end of the training, around 30 health workers comprising of doctors, nurses and data and risk communication officers of the Ministry of Health are now ready to commence the roll out of the Sinopharm vaccines.

Similar to the AstraZeneca vaccine, these officers will be responsible for the registration, administration, monitoring and recording of the roll out of Sinopharm Vaccines.

Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil explained that the training is important, as the country is ready to roll out the Sinopharm vaccine come Friday.

“Though not much difference with AstraZeneca in terms of registration, administration, monitoring of possible adverse events after vaccination and reporting, it was necessary to clear doubts, address concerns and provide clarifications to any confusions with the health workers tasked for the vaccination."

She thanked the participants and facilitators, which comprised of MHMS health experts and specialists and acknowledged the continuous support received from the technical agencies, WHO and UNICEF and partners in the training and the overall roll out of COVID-19 vaccination.

As been highlighted in other communication activities, the Sinopharm vaccine have received approval by WHO for emergency use and Solomon Islands National Medicines and Therapeutic Committee. Therefore, this vaccine is efficacious and safe for use to prevent the COVID-19 infection. Sinopharm contains inactivated virus meaning that the vaccine cannot cause the disease.

While remaining COVID-19 operation frontlines and essential workers remain priority groups to receive the Sinopharm vaccine, special groups including students that plan to travel to China will be offered the vaccine.

The Sinopharm roll out launch will be held on Friday May 21 with the Deputy Prime Minister to receive the first shot alongside Counsellor Yao Ming of People Republic of China Embassy, followed by cabinet ministers and Chinese community leaders as part of building confidence around the vaccine. The roll out for other groups will start on Tuesday after public holiday on Monday.

Since there is only 50,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine, health will only vaccinate 25,000 people so they can also receive their second dose after four weeks.

Source: MHMS media release