EDITORIAL-Let’s maintain our COVID-free status

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PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare yesterday demonstrated true leadership when he took the first COVID-19 vaccine jab.

This came after he launched the COVID-19 rollout program in Honiara.

Sogavare did that to prove to the nation and people that the COVID-19 AstraZeneca Vaccine is safe.

He was observed for 15 minutes in the Central Field Hospital (Multi-purpose Hall) after the jab.

He left as healthy as he came.

His health minister Dr Culwick Togamae and a number of government ministers and public servants, also took their jabs.

Like Sogavare, thy chose to be the first to show everyone AstraZeneca Vaccine is safe.

And like the prime minister, they too left in the same state of health, just as they came.

Here’s the thing.

AstraZeneca is not just another vaccine.

It went through a series of tests before the World Health Organisation (WHO) gave approval for it to be used against COVID-19.

So we don’t have to worry much about its safety and side effects.

As Sogavare rightly stated, alcohol and smoking, which are widely consumed here, have more serious and long-term side effects.

Remember that every medicine we take has side effects.

Every vaccine ever made and in current use today have side-effects.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been reported to cause mild side effects that are no different to other injectable medicines or other vaccines.

But none of the severe side effects that have been reported after AstraZeneca vaccination are directly caused by the vaccine.

We can wait no longer.

For if we wait for community transmission to occur before we start vaccinating, it will already be too late.

Eighteen returning citizens who contracted the virus and have been quarantined for weeks, have recovered.

We no longer have an active case. We are COVID-free.

So let’s stop the virus once and for all.

Let’s take our jab and keep our community and country safe and COVID-free.