BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
ONLY 47,921 doses of COVID-19 vaccines – AstraZeneca and Sinopharm have been administered for 1st and 2nd doses.
And Health minister Dr Culwick Togamana said this is worrying and disappointing.
“This has happened despite the continued push to increase our vaccination coverage since the March 2021 launch,” he said in his nation-wide address.
“It is extremely disappointing and worrying to note that to date only 47,921 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm, 1st and 2nd dose had been administered,” he added.
“Only 12,183 people had been fully vaccinated, with 1st and 2nd doses.
“This represents only 2.9 percent of the national target population of 414,327 people.
“Only 23, 555 people having received their first dose at this point.”
Togamana said in Honiara and Guadalcanal province combined, 10,000 plus people have completed their 2nd doses which translate to only 6.9 percent of the target population.
For the Choiseul and Western provinces, about 3.3 percent and 1.2 percent of target population respectively had received full vaccination.
The 2nd dose roll out for Malaita Outer Islands was also conducted last week he stated.
Togamana said compared to many of our neighboring Pacific Islands countries, the country’s uptake is slow and this is very concerning to the government.
He said for instance, Fiji commenced their roll out after Solomon Islands, yet they manage to administer more than 440,000 first doses that is more than 75 percent of target population with 104,000 people fully vaccinated, almost 20 percent of target population.
However, uncontrolled community transmission of Delta variant in Fiji is also helping drive the vaccination rates.
Togamana said Other Smaller Pacific countries such as Nauru and Palau have achieved 100 percent 1st does coverage of their total targe population and are approaching 100 percent, 2nd dose coverage.
“The government is extremely concerned about the terribly slow uptake of COVID-19 vaccination in the country to a level that would protect our population from COVID-19 in the event the virus breaches our borders and reach our communities.”