Hundreds of people join long queues; in some places they stand in very closed groups— as the unvaccinated rush to get their jabs. With the COVID-19 community transmission now in motion and into its second week and the positive cases mounting, many city residents have responded in huge numbers for the first time since the vaccination rollout started early last year.
Long lines are visible the at vaccine sites at Kukum SDA, the Honiara City Council square as well as the Solomon Ports area.
SBMOnline witnessed today that there was no social distancing in all the sites – with too many people pushing to get their jabs.
At the Kukum vaccination centre hundreds of people squeezed under a rain tree behind rows of people hoping to get their vaccination.
“I have decided to return home as I have no chance and I am too scared that I might get the virus because there is no social distancing here,” said Ellen, a mother who could not make it to the vaccination table.
Speaking yesterday in his update, Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana said vaccination in Honiara had resumed yesterday after a very busy week last week.
“Many of our vaccinators in Honiara have also tested positive for COVID-19 and instructed to stand down. Over the weekend, the remaining negatives have regrouped, reorganised themselves for roll out this week,” he said.
Meanwhile he on behalf of the vaccinators requested the public to observe certain protocols on public gathering.
“If you come for vaccination at a vaccination site or to the vaccine mobile teams, ensure you wear face mask, maintain social distancing of at least 1 to 2 meters and frequently wash hands with hand sanitizer. If these are not adhered to at vaccination sites, these measures if not observed could end up being an avenue for spreading of COVID-19 infection,” he said.
Before the community transmission only 20% of the eligible population were vaccinated, making the Solomons one of the lowest in the region in terms of its vaccination rate.