Dr. Yogesh Choudri, an advisor and international staff in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) says some countries have started their COVID-19 vaccination program under what is called the ‘Emergency Use Authorisation’.
However he says these vaccines are not yet approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) but countries using the vaccines are those with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Choudri says Solomon Islands is now waiting for WHO to approve these vaccines under the COVAX Facility.
“At the same time we are starting the process to negotiate with the bilateral partners and donors. For example New Zealand has committed vaccines for some of the Pacific countries and we have started talking to New Zealand to give us the vaccine. Similarly when the vaccine from China would be approved, we would be requesting China for the additional vaccine so that we can immediately start to immunize our
priority populations”, Choudri says.
He says the government is waiting for approval by WHO through COVAX Facility while at the same time in consultations with bilateral partners to support Solomon Islands acquire COVID-19 vaccinations.
In addition, Dr. Gregory Jilini says Solomon Islands is among a group of countries that are eligible to receive vaccinations for free.
“Under the COVAX Facility we are eligible to get vaccines equivalent to 20 percent of our population, free”, Jilini says.
COVAX, formally known as The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, is a global collaboration for speeding up the development, manufacture and equitable distribution of new vaccines.
COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Gavi, a public-private partnership, vaccinates children against deadly diseases around the world; CEPI helps develop vaccines and the WHO works with 194 member states to promote global health.