THE National Cabinet has set October 31, 2021 as the date for all public servants and employees of government agencies and state-owned enterprises to take their first dose of covid-19 vaccine.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address yesterday said by November 1, 2021, all public servants, and employees of government agencies and SOEs that have not taken their vaccinations will not be allowed to return to their workplaces.
He said the only exceptions will be for those officers with genuine medical contraindications as certified by the Incident Controller, and pregnant women who wish to be vaccinated but were unable to be vaccinated due to pregnancy.
“The Oversight Committee will be presenting an analysis of the implications of this decision on services and options to be considered to address any gaps that might result from public servants who choose not to be vaccinated,” he said.
In relation to all teachers, Sogavare encouraged all education authorities to ensure that all their teachers are vaccinated.
He said the government assists all education authorities through grants and wishes to seek the cooperation of all education authorities to ensure that all teachers and staff funded through government support are vaccinated.
“With regards to all other employers in the country, while it is outside the jurisdiction of the government to enforce its policies on your corporations or companies, I emphasise that you all have a duty of care to protect this country from COVID-19,” the Prime Minister said.
Sogavare said Solomon Islands must learn from other countries where all employers in the private and public sector cooperated to achieve the country’s national vaccination targets so that their borders can reopen quickly.
“I must emphasise that to achieve the 90 percent target, we need the support of all employers, all churches, all communities to increase our vaccination rate to reach 20,000 doses per week. This will ensure we can reopen our borders fully by June 1, 2022,” he said.
The Prime Minister said if we can increase our vaccination numbers above 20,000 doses each week, we will be able to open our borders earlier than June 2022.