THE Honiara City Council (HCC) yesterday launched its COVID-19 vaccination roll out program with Honiara City Lord Mayor Eddie Siapu receiving his first COVID-19 vaccination jab along with some of the City Councillors.
Dr. Christopher Becha, Health Director of HCC explained that with this particular roll out plan, HCC health workers will be bringing COVID-19 vaccination program to the people at their work places, communities and homes including setting up of some tents or using existing health clinics for fixed vaccination sites.
“This is important to ensure that we speed up vaccination coverage in Honiara to all eligible persons 18 years and above as Honiara city is a risk area for community transmission due to ongoing travels into the country with quarantining, swabbing and testing of COVID-19 activities,” Becha said.
“All these pose some risk level of the virus finding its way into the communities”.
Becha also highlighted the concerning situation given the increasing number of cases and deaths in neighbouring Fiji and Papua New Guinea including Australia let alone the Delta variant that spreads even fast.
In Fiji as of yesterday 8th July, 54 deaths with 6 of those deaths in the past 24 hours.
Total confirmed cases in Fiji 9,382 with 721 positive cases reported in the past 24 hours.
In Papua New Guinea, 17,308 confirmed cases with 10 cases in the past 24 hours and 179 deaths and 2 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours as of yesterday.
“Therefore, I strongly urge all Honiara residents who are 18 years and above to come forward and get your vaccination done when our teams come around your areas of work and communities,” Becha said.
In echoing similar sentiments on the need for people to be vaccinated, Dr Nemia Bainivalu, Incident Controller, of the National Health Emergency Operation Centre, (NHEOC) also highlighted that the number of global deaths due to COVID-19 has passed the 4 million mark with 185 million cases of COVID-19 positive registered world-wide to date.
“Many countries including some of our Pacific Island Countries are experiencing community transmission of COVID-19 thus, lockdowns, restrictions to movements and activities therefore its impact is not only on health but spans wide to affect all other social economic aspects of people’s livelihood.
“This we do not want to see happening in Honiara therefore people must come forward to receive their covid vaccination,” explained Dr Bainivalu.
Delivering the keynote address at the launch Honiara City Lord Mayor Eddie Siapu called on all Honiara residents, community leaders, chiefs, elders including bosses of all government ministries and agencies, non-government organizations and the private sector to support the vaccination roll out by allowing their staff time out to get vaccinated once the health COVID-19 vaccination teams make their rounds to them.
“I have seen on Television and the internet, many lives that COVID-19 had taken,” Siapu said.
“I saw children crying for their parents, whom they can’t even hold for the last time to say good bye before they are buried,” he added.
“I have seen wives and husbands and families saying their last words to each other before passing on only through video calls on mobile phones as they cannot hold each other for that very special last moment.
“As I sit at my home, and see my children and grandchildren, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like if such situation happened to us.
“Ladies and gentlemen, for this I want to confirm today, that I will get my 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure that I get my second to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Upon receiving his first jab, Siapu came out again to the microphone and announced to the public gathered at the event:
“I am very pleased to receive my first COVID-19 vaccine dose 30 minutes ago, and I am feeling well and will ensure I get my second dose on the date stated in my card. Please do come forward and receive your first dose.”
While vaccination progressed, public were given opportunities to ask their questions, concerns, fears and anxiety over the vaccination with Becha, Bainvalu and MHMS Advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri taking turns to answer the questions, which saw good number of people coming forward to get their first vaccine dose.
As of today, a new vaccination site is open complementing the Central Field Hospital and its right at Honiara City Council office at Town Council area.
“The Covid-19 Vaccines are coming to you now, so come forward and get vaccinated and lets all protect our children, communities and country against COVID-19.”