VIEWPOINT- Delta variant is no joke: get vaccinated

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Delta variant is no joke: get vaccinated

TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) would like to reiterate the call by the Prime Minister (PM) Manasseh Sogavare for citizens above the age of 18 years old to get the jab before it’s too late given the severity of the Delta strain.

It has been widely reported, the delta variant is more contagious than the other virus strains.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address two weeks ago said the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your communities from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated.

With no hesitation, TSI is reiterating on the call for citizens to visit the nearest venue where vaccination is being rolled out, whether you in the province or Honiara, please do take the jab before it is too late to save yourself.

Global deaths from covid-19 stands at 4.22 million with 198 million cases so far.

United States recorded the highest death with more than 600,000 deaths followed by Brazil 556,000 deaths and the Delta variant ravaged India with 424,000 deaths.

With the rise of cases in the neighboring Fiji so as deaths from the imported delta variant from India, Solomon Islands must not take the covid-19 lightly as the delta strain is absolutely a different version of covid-19 cases that were previously treated, quarantined and contained on our shores.

As of April, this year, the second wave of covid-19 outbreak in Fiji has reached 30,400 cases with 238 deaths in a space of two months.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) the closest neighbor to our western border record 17,717 cases with 192 deaths. This shows how serious the delta variant is.

There is no time to delay taking the jab as we are on a brink of going into the same tragedy that Fiji is now experiencing with covid-19 delta variant.

Two frontline nurses were reported died because of failure to take the vaccine, according to Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health Dr. James Fong.

The latest news in Fiji digging mass graves and cremation of death bodies every day sends a strong message across the pacific nations that the delta variant is not a joke.

The continuous fear among many of our citizens due to rumors and misleading information about the side effects of the vaccine must be discourage and those responsible for spreading fears should be dealt with under the regulation within the State of Public Emergency (SOPE).

There are many things that we can be doubtful of, but not for this delta strain that is now killing hundreds of thousands globally.

Getting vaccinated will go a long way in preventing the spread and transmission of covid-19 in the country.

If we are concern about the lives of our children and those with existing medical conditions then it is important that we take the jab to ensure that we can prevent community transmission that will affect our families, getting vaccinated can save lives and contain any possible community outbreak.

For those with pre-existing medical conditions please do seek advice from medical officials for advices before taking the vaccine.

This is also important for pregnant women to seek advice from doctors and nurses.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is yet to give any further advice on whether children and those under age of 18 should be vaccinated but our health authority will be informed of it.

The recent deaths of six people over the weekend in Fiji include a 11 months old baby has prompted the health authority there to say that it rarely happens for children to die but it also indicates that the situation has reach a point that is beyond control.

This is the sort of situation that we do not want Solomon Islands to go through, thus TSI support the call by our Prime Minister for everyone above the age of 18 to take the jab in order to save our families and the country.

TSI applaud our vigilant frontliners and the government for the combined national effort in managing and maintaining a covid-19 free status.

From the Minister of Health’s nationwide address on 2nd August 2021, it is welcoming news that new travel restrictions are now in place for countries reporting community transmission of the delta variant.

Whilst transmission via flights have been quite successful it is concerning to learn that incoming foreign vessels continue to be pose high risk of importing covid-19 into the country.

 TSI calls on the responsible authorities – the government and the Oversight Committee to ensure that all incoming foreign commercial vessels must all dock at the wharf instead of docking at private jetties, to avoid stretching our limited resources whilst at the same time, ensuring that all incoming personals do not disembark at their own will and mingle with communities as it has been previously reported.

Furthermore, Transparency Solomon Islands in its campaign for Transparency and Accountability for the COVID 19 SOE responses called for auditing of the funds spent under the name covid-19 SOE and for these to be tabled before the Parliament for debate.

The funding injections in response to COVID 19 ignited public debate in mainstream media including social media since last year. Serious allegations of fraud and nepotism in the award of contract jobs were raised.

The revelation by the acting Permanent Secretary Jimmy Nuake that $13 million was spent for renovation work alone at the quarantine centers is not only alarming but needs auditing.

 Some of these places were not used for quarantine purposes, despite the millions spent.

Some failed to meet the specifications required for Covid 19 quarantine facility requirements. 

The work done was very poor and does not reflect well on the contractors themselves.

For the millions paid out to the contractor this is not value for money.

Some of the quarantine centers where these millions were spent are King George VI dormitories, Ex-Telekom hostel and the National Referral Hospital (NRH).

It is not only an issue of value for money but one of bad planning and poor supervision on the part of those responsible and the Oversight Committee.

Finally, Transparency Solomon Islands and taxpayers of Solomon Islands demand accountability and transparency in the use of these $13 million.

Exposing and holding those milking the government to account under the guise of covid-19 is a must.

They need to be held responsible for their actions.

The allegation that some of the people awarded these contracts did not have any qualification nor the experience to undertake these construction jobs needs to be verified.

Audit must extend to funds spend on catering, security and allowances, including the repatriation package given to Members of Parliament.

Make public the findings as well as tabling it in Parliament.  This will build confidence back in the government much needed at this time of the pandemic.

Since the declaration of the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) in March last year huge funding injections by our government and those from our development partners for the purpose of covid-19 prevention must be properly accounted for.