The first 24,000 does of COVID-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca will arrive this month with the second batch of 20,000 from Chinese vaccine Sinopharm expected in April.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Monday that the first orders for the AstraZeneca vaccine had been placed by “our in-country partner, UNICEF through its supply division.”
“We expect to receive the first tranche of 24,000 doses of the Vaccine this month. Training has commenced on the administration of the vaccine. Venues have also been identified to roll out the vaccine after its arrival,” he said.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use. The WHO approval gives the confidence that it is safe and effective to protect the recipient from COVID-19.
Sogavare also stated that the Government is also considering other Vaccines including the Sinopharm vaccine.
“We will also be receiving 20,000 does of this vaccine in April and will also roll it out as soon as the World Health Organisation approves it for emergency use,” he said.
Meanwhile Sogavare said he is willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine to demonstrate his confidence in its safety.
He said he is aware of many commentaries in the social media for leaders including himself to first receive the vaccine before the general populace.
Therefore, the Prime Minister said he is willing to do so when his turn comes.
“I assure you all that I will willingly take the COVID-19 vaccine when my turn comes to demonstrate my confidence in the safety of the vaccine which will also offer me protection from COVID-19,” he said in his address recently.
Sogavare said health authorities are now finalizing the vaccination roll out plan for the first tranche of vaccines.
“It is also the wish of my government that the people living along the western border will benefit from the first roll out of either of the two vaccines we anticipate in the country by April this year,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said with the rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation on Bougainville, we must include COVID-19 vaccination along the border communities in addition to our efforts to prevent people from crossing the border from Bougainville to Solomon Islands.