The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) wish to emphasize that the 100,620 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines provided by the government of the United States of America (USA), through COVAX Facility, that arrived last week, will be allocated for adolescents 12 to below 18 years of age and pregnant women only.

These vaccines will be administered in health clinics and schools, where pregnant mothers and children will be easier to reach. The Ministry of Health is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to support the roll out in the schools and all children who will receive the Pfizer vaccine will only get jabbed if their parents or guardians consent for their vaccination.

The 100,620 doses of the vaccines will be enough to cover for 50,310 of our eligible adolescents and pregnant women to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer vaccine. The roll out of Pfizer will enable us not only to increase coverage of vaccinated persons but also expand coverage to other groups of the population, in this case adolescents 12 to below 18 years and pregnant women, who are not eligible to receive AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.

The World Health Organisation and the Solomon Islands National Drugs and Therapeutic Committee (NDTC), responsible for authorizing any use of drugs including vaccines in Solomon Islands, have authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for use in these two groups.

With the issue of limited availability of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the priority is to reach out to adolescents and pregnant women in Honiara City Council (HCC) and Guadalcanal Province (GP) first before moving out to the provinces.

This statement is made in light of media enquiries received by the ministry pertaining to whether Pfizer will also be used as booster dose to those who already received AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines.

The COVID-19 booster dose is being offered in many countries and to populations at higher risk of serious manifestations of COVID and to people more likely to come in contact with COVID-19 patients such as health care workers and other front-liners. New data are emerging that booster dose further strengthens the defence system of body and lends additional protection.

The National COVID-19 Vaccination Technical Working Group of the Ministry of Health will study the evidence related to administration of booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine taking into consideration the context in Solomon Islands, issues such as vaccine availability, policy and COVID-19 vaccine guideline change before any announcement of booster doses are made.

It is important to note that pregnant mothers and children within these age group are also at risk of falling very sick, admitted to the hospital and even die from COVID-19. Therefore, the Ministry is looking forward towards the cooperation of pregnant mothers and parents and guardians of children 12 to 18 years old as the Ministry of Health and Medical Services rolls out the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

Source: MHMS Media