On Wednesday (15th September) this week the last remaining province, Temotu, successfully launched its provincial COVID-19 vaccination roll out program in the provincial capital, Lata.

This particular launch marks an important milestone in the efforts of the Ministry of Health to provide COVID-19 vaccines which to date have been the most effective means, through which people can stay protected against severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

The Assistant Director of Nursing for the province and the Chairperson of the Temotu Health Emergency Operation Centre (THEOC) said that although Temotu is the final province to launch and roll out the COVID-19 vaccines, it is determined to become the first to finish.

Rev. Willie Tungale Diocesan Bishop of the Church of Melanesia said that many Christians are caught in between whether or not to receive the vaccines due to their religious beliefs and said that this should not be the case.

“COVID-19 has caused millions of people to fall sick and die in just over a year. These vaccines on the other hand, gives us a chance to stay protected against the severe effects of COVID-19 to our health and lives thus this must surely come from God.

"The development and provision of these vaccines by scientists, health experts and all others surely is an act of God in response to millions of prayers from millions of people affected. So do not be afraid but come forward and get vaccinated against COVID-19”.

Provincial Health Director Dr Morris Tealiki in his remarks thanked the National and provincial government and the Ministry of Health for the support with preparations for the vaccine roll out.

“This goes to show our determination to preserve the health and lives of our people in Temotu province and the rest of the country from COVID-19. Truly a blessing indeed that we are still able to prevent a community transmission more than a years on after COVID-19 was announced as a global pandemic.

“There is no treatment for COVID-19; this means no medications, no tablet whatsoever to treat you if you are very sick with COVID-19. But, we have an option, that is to prevent us from falling very sick, being hospitalized and die from COVID-19, that is these COVID-19 vaccines that we are launching today.

"These vaccines are approved by WHO and the country’s National Medicines and Therapeutic Committee for use in Solomon Islands and studies also show that benefits of vaccination outweighs the risks therefore I call on every single eligible persons to come forward and get vaccinated”, said Dr Tealiki.

Delivering keynote address, Premier of Temotu Province Hon. Clay Forau Soalaoi also thanked the National Government, through the Oversight Committee, the Ministry of Health and the provincial health team for keeping the country and province safe from COVID-19 community transmission as well as ongoing efforts to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 threat.

“We are still in the State of Public Emergency with our borders still closed. However, for how long remains the big question. Our economy and all other sectors will need to progress and for this to happen borders needed to be reopened again. It is therefore in our best interest to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“An estimated 15,000 plus people in Temotu province are eligible to receive the vaccination and I call on each and every single of these people to come forward and get vaccinated. This is how we can prevent our people and province from the severe effects of COVID-19”, explained Hon. Forau.

The premier assured of the provincial government support towards the roll out of COVID-19 vaccination program in Temotu province whilst urging in his speech all provincial government workers, including health workers, police, and immigration and customs officers to get vaccinated. “You are our front-liners and your services should there be a community transmission is very critical indeed so please come get your vaccination dose.

“Do not believe nor trust any information related to COVID-19 vaccines from any other sources but the Ministry of Health and partners (WHO and UNICEF). They have been mandated to ensure that our health is preserved and in doing so, responsible to make all necessary assessments to what is best for us in terms of our health, in this case getting vaccinated will greatly preserve our health against COVID-19”.

With the official speeches, Reverend Bishop Willie Tungale blessed and dedicated the vaccines with a word of payer. Premier Hon. Forau then moved to received his first COVID-19 dose and as such marked the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccination roll out in Temotu province.

Source: MHMS Media