BRITISH High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Dr Brian Jones today has paid a courtesy visit to the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The meeting took place at the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet.
His Excellency Jones took the opportunity to acknowledge the Prime Minister and his Government for continuing to manage the COVID-19 situation in the country.
The British High Commissioner also shared United Kingdom’s experience with the vaccination roll out in the UK and its challenges and outcomes.
Dr Brian said around 25 million people in UK have been vaccinated to date, with 17 million in the EU and UK vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
He assured the Prime Minister that whilst there have been a small number of concerns raised with its side effects, and those are being rigorously investigated, it has proven to be effective and safe in the UK and has been declared safe by WHO.
“There had been a dramatic drop in cases since this vaccination rollout kicked off in UK compared to the last 3 months,” His Excellency Jones said.
The British High Commissioner also spoke highly of the Prime Minister for assuring the people of Solomon Islands that he is willing to be amongst the first to be vaccinated when the time comes.
Prime Minister Sogavare in response has shared with the British High Commissioner that he has put his hand up to be amongst the first to be vaccinated to show confidence to his people that the vaccine is safe.
The Prime Minister also briefed the High Commissioner of the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine this Friday.
“Yes, it will be here in the country this Friday and we are looking forward for its arrival,” he said.
This first batch of vaccines comes through the COVAX facility, set up by GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to ensure vaccines reach all countries, regardless of financial status.
The UK is one of the top donors to COVAX, supporting with £548m.
Prime Minister Sogavare also acknowledged the experiences shared by the High Commissioner on UKs vaccination rollout program and its outcomes.
Other issues discussed also included the 2023 Pacific Green Games initiative, Pacific Islands Forum, education reform and carbon trading.
Meanwhile, the highlight of the meeting was a show of solidarity by the British High Commissioner rolling up his sleeve to show support to the Prime Minister for putting his hand up to be amongst the first to be vaccinated in Solomon Islands.