COVID-19 does not care about our individual beliefs, our freedoms nor our individual rights.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare stated during his nationwide address last week.
The Prime Minister said in many countries it is the individual rights and freedoms that has allowed COVID-19 to spread and has killed many people.
“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,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said unrelenting resistance to common sense public health measures such as vaccination has been the major cause of spread in many countries.
He said the sad thing is the selfish attitude of a few that results in the spread of illness causing death to others.
The Prime Minister says liberty does not mean you have the freedom to do whatever you want wherever you want.
“It means whatever you do to please yourself must not put others in harm’s way so you must respect their liberties as well. That is our moral, ethical, spiritual, and civic responsibility,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the Government respects individuals’ rights and religious beliefs.
However, he said these beliefs must not jeopardize the rights of others, nor put them at risk.
“In this regard, 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-owner enterprises,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare strongly emphasized that it is the Government’s policy that every government employee and members of their families, must be protected from COVID-19.
He said the best way to achieve this is to get fully vaccinated.
“It is therefore a requirement that every employee of the government at the central and provincial levels and employees of government institutions and SOEs must get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine either by end of this month, or within two months of the vaccination rollout in the provinces where they work, and they must receive their 2nd dose of the vaccine by 30th November 2021,” he said.
The Prime Minister said whilst these dates will be reviewed depending on what is realistically achievable, any person that is employed by the Government who chooses not to get vaccinated will not be allowed to enter their work premises by the due date of the first dose.
Prime Minister Sogavare adds that if they still choose not to be vaccinated by the due date of the second dose, they will have self-terminated their employment.
He said the choice by public servants to get vaccinated or not belongs to individual public servants.
The Prime Minister said the choice on who the Government continues to employ under its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy rests with the government.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the Government also requires all private sector companies whose workers undertake frontline work to ensure their frontline workers are vaccinated.
The dues dates for the 1st dose and 2nd dose for Honiara, Western province, Choiseul province, Guadalcanal province and Malaita outer Islands is 31 August for the 1st dose and 30th November 2021 for the 2nd dose.
“As a responsible Government, our focus is to achieve at least an 80% coverage of our total eligible population fully vaccinated to ensure we can provide some level of protection to all those below 18 years of age who cannot be vaccinated. This is about 331,462 people,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that is the objective of the Government.
“It is our ethical and moral duty to ensure we can protect the people of this country,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.