Wale urges PM to set focus on preparing SI for COVAX, worries vaccine access could be delayed

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The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale, has called on the Prime Minister to quickly take steps to ensure that Solomon Islands is ready for the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Hon. Wale expressed that the COVAX distribution of vaccines to countries will depend on the preparedness of countries both to receive the vaccine and roll out an effective vaccination programme.

“Right now Solomon Islands is far from ready, as the technical experts required to assist the government in this very important program are yet to be appointed. The paperwork for the appointments have been prepared a long time ago, but are being delayed with no explanation. This is a matter of public concern,” the Opposition Leader expressed.

The Opposition Leader therefore calls on the Prime Minister to ensure that these appointments are done, and to remedy this situation.

“Accessing vaccines in circumstances as presently faced is not a simple matter. There are a lot of technical issues and processes that need to be addressed and complied with. Dealing with such hurdles is not easy matter,” says Hon. Wale.

Wale further said he is also disappointed that, because of the incisiveness of the Ministry of Health, Solomon Islands forfeited a W.H.O funding allocation of USD250, 000 in 2020 intended for our preparations for the vaccination program.

The Opposition Leader went on to add, “This is not the time for power play. Administrative inertia must be removed, and the ministry must work in close collaboration with WHO to ensure that the country gets all the assistance required to prepare for the COVAX vaccination scheme”.

“The consequences of any delay in immediately accessing the vaccine is a serious matter given the negative impact of Covid-19 on our society and the economy.

“Administrative inertia, indecisiveness, incompetence or power play cannot be allowed to stand in the way of Solomon Islands’ readiness to access COVAX. The country expects the Prime Minister to take proactive and immediate steps to remedy this situation,” Hon. Wale further added.

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