Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has defended his governments decision to enforce the mandatory administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaking during his weekly nationwide address the Prime Minister says that the country is faced with an imminent threat, and his government is taking decisive steps to address this threat.

“We face one of the most dangerous variants of COVID-19 that has killed more than 4.29 million people globally. We only need to look and learn from our neighbouring countries such as Australia, PNG, and Fiji to see that devastation this virus can do to a country.

“COVID-19 does not care about our individual beliefs or our freedoms nor our individual rights. In-fact in many countries it is the individual rights and freedoms that has allowed COVID-19 to spread and kill many people,” Sogavare said.

He says that it is not the intention of Cabinet to take away people’s individual rights, but it is duty bound to act and protect the whole population of the country against this deadly virus. Sogavare reiterates that the government respects individuals’ rights, freedom and religious beliefs, but it must not jeopardize the rights of others, nor put them at unnecessary risk.

“COVID-19 does not discriminate – it affects all and if you are not vaccinated, you will become the weak link that can provide an entry point for the virus to enter and infect those close to you.”

Sogavare explained that the government policy starts with those that it employs through its two tiers of government – the central and provincial governments and those employed in government institutions and State-owned enterprises.

“It is the government’s policy that everyone that it employs, and members of their families must be protected from COVID-19. The best way to achieve this is to get fully vaccinated.”