Shortland chiefs ready to support roll out of covid-19 vaccine in communities

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Chiefs in the Shortland islands have conveyed their support for the covid-19 vaccine rollout in their communities.

In a media statement over the weekend, the Health ministry applauded FAMOA Council of Chief in the Shortland Islands, Western Province for confirming their support towards the Ministry’s planned deployment and roll out of COVID-19 vaccines along Shortland communities that are in close proximity to Bougainville.

Bougainville, recently recorded increases in the number of COVID-19 cases and coupled with occasional illegal border crossings, Shortlands including western borderline communities in Choiseul province and the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI) are areas of great concern, for possible entry of COVID-19 that can potentially trigger community transmission.

This led to the inclusion of communities along the western border as priority groups to receive vaccination. Thus, a total of 17,000 vaccine doses have been allocated for all persons 18 years and above along these communities.

As part of the vaccine roll out, health has commenced deployment of national health staff with personals from surveillance, clinical and risk communication and so forth to support ongoing joint borderline operations and vaccine awareness and training of vaccinators. This week vaccine awareness was conducted for FAMOA Council of Chiefs in Shortlands where pre awareness survey conducted showed that only 33 percent of the FAMOA members supporting the uptake of the vaccine. Post awareness survey showed all chiefs.

confirming their support towards the vaccines and pledged their willingness to support the roll out.

Health Permanent Secretary Mrs. Pauline McNeil said that the Ministry of Health is very pleased to learn of the 100 percent support confirmed by the FAMOA Council of Chiefs.

“Thank you FAMOA Council of Chiefs for your support, the ministry applauds the decision undertaken as it will preserve the health of our people in Shortlands and the rest of the country once we vaccinate all persons 18 years and above”,

“This is so because having most-at-risk vaccinated will prevent them from being sick, hospitalized or die from COVID-19 and more importantly prevent spread of the virus to others”, explained Mrs McNeil.

She also added that health will be doing the same with provincial and communities’ leaders in Choiseul and Malaita provinces in the coming days to rally support of these important individual for a smooth roll out of vaccination scheduled for coming days.

Ministry of Health is reiterating calls to the public to ensure that everyone only listen to accurate and right information from reputable sources such as the Ministry of Health including others such as WHO and UNICEF for information on vaccination.

More deployments of national health staff to support provincial health teams to prepare for the roll out of the vaccines along the western border communities is in progress.