20 Mar 2021

Solomon Islands govt aiming to vaccinate entire adult population

8:30 am on 20 March 2021

Health authorities in Solomon Islands are aiming to vaccinate the country's entire adult population against Covid-19.

On Friday the first 24,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine arrived in the capital Honiara sourced through the Global Covax facility.

The country had been approved for enough doses to vaccinate 20 percent of its population of under 700,000 people.

The WHO's Dr Yogesh Choudhri giving a presentation about the Covid-19 pandemic

Yogesh Choudhri, Photo: Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry

"The country needs more than 800 thousand doses of the vaccinate all adults in the country," according to Yogesh Choudhri, a senior advisor to the Solomon Islands ministry of health.

"China is already sending 20,000 doses in their first week of ... we have also returned to the government of India for bi-lateral donation for the same vaccine, Astra Zeneca, that we are getting also the DFAT, MFAT have been very upfront and have offered us support," he said.

Choudhri said the balance of vaccines, of around 50 percent will be paid for by Solomon Islands, he said.

Frontline workers would be the first to get the jab.

Choudhri said they aimed to start vaccinations on Wednesday next week.

"Our priority population has been front line workers, so when we are starting to immunise in Honiara, which is close to 7000 people, and then because of the ongoing situation in the Western borders," he said.

Solomons Western Border is shared with Papua New Guinea which is experiencing a massive surge in Covid-19 cases.

Solomon Islands Hospital

Solomon Islands Hospital Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins