Only 4.2 percent vaccinated so far, PM urges over 18s’ to take their jabs now

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With three months into the roll-out only 4.2 percent or only 35,167 people have been vaccinated so far. And the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has urged the public to come forward and have their jabs.

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In his nationwide address today, Sogavare said based on the provisional figures from the 2019 population census, the target population for the vaccination drive is around 414,500 people and these are people aged 18 years and above.

“This means we need to administer a total of 829,000 doses of COVID-19 to get full coverage.  By Friday last week, we have only administered a total of 35,167 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Western, Choiseul and Malaita Outer Islands.

“This is only 4.2 percent of the total doses we need to administer in-order to protect this country in the event we have community transmission of COVID-19,” said the prime minister.

Also, by last Friday, only 9,934 people have completed their vaccinations – having received two injections of their COVID-19 vaccines.

“This represents only 2.4 percent of our total target population. This percentage simply means that only 2 people out of every 100 adults are vaccinated. Only 2 people from every 100 adults will be protected if we have community transmission of the virus.

98 out of every 100 adults will not be protected. In-fact as we see in other countries, these 98 adults from every 100 adults will be responsible for spreading the virus throughout the country.

And Sogavare has this to say to those who have not been vaccinated: “We do not have to wait for the disease to reach our communities before we accept vaccines.  Let us learn from the experiences from our neighboring countries such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea and vaccinate to ensure we are in a much better position to prevent community transmission in the event the COVID-19 virus breaches our borders.”

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Benefits of Vaccination

Sogavare said the vaccines that are used here are effective against the Delta Variant of COVID-19 that is driving the new surge of infections around the world.

“They have been shown to reduce hospitalization by 92 percent, reduce chances of getting infected by almost 70 percent. Non-vaccinated people have no protection at all.

“In-order for us to protect our youths and children below 18 years of age, everyone above 18 years of age must be vaccinated.

If the whole 414,500 adults in our country are vaccinated, this constitutes about 64% of our population which would offer some level of protection to the other 36 percent of our population that cannot be vaccinated,” the PM said.

Sogavare said those that cannot be vaccinated rely on those of “us that can be vaccinated for their protection, for their lives.”

“If we do not vaccinate, we put at risk not only our lives and the lives of our families, BUT we put at risk the lives of another 235,000 plus Solomon Islanders that cannot be vaccinated because they are under 18 years of age. I urge all of you 18 years and over, take COVID-19 vaccination seriously. Do not wait until there is an outbreak – do it now. Visit the vaccination centres right now or go to the vaccination centres when our vaccination teams come to your areas.

“Do not wait for community spread to come before you decide. Do not wait for a loved one to pass away from COVID-19 before you decide. If that happens it is already too late to stop the spread and already too late to vaccinate,” he said.

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