Omicron is the latest in an ever-growing line of COVID-19 variants.

“Omicron has many mutations that could allow it to spread better and be better at binding to and getting into our cells,” said Dr. David Beckham, a virologist and a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“So, concern and quick action by global health leaders is warranted.”

Experts agree that the global vaccination campaign has helped slow the mutations. But for those countries that have not achieved high levels of vaccination coverage, it is a potential disaster waiting to happen.

The Incident Controller of the National Health and Emergency Operations Center at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Dr Nemiah Bainivalu, says intensive care services at the National Referral Hospital is already stretched as it is, and will not be able to cope should there be an outbreak.

“As long as the virus is still around, the country is still not safe.

“The fact that neighboring countries such as PNG, Fiji and Australia are still grappling with the pandemic, we must capitalize on this window of opportunity to vaccinate all eligible members of the population to protect us from being seriously ill of the virus.

“Vaccination will protect you from ending up on one of the beds at the intensive care unit at the NRH,” he cautioned.

He adds that his team is working with the Honiara City Council to continue to vaccinate the eligible population in Honiara.

“Port Authority still remains open, Kukum and Holy Cross on the other hand were forced to close due to the recent lawlessness, but we will soon resume operations,” he said.

Dr Bainivalu said that it is paramount that all in the eligible population are vaccinated.