Solomons border communities prioritised for vaccines

8:30 pm on 6 April 2021

The Solomon Islands government is this week planning to rollout Covid-19 vaccinations for communities along its western border with Papua New Guinea.

PNG is struggling with a serious outbreak of Covid-19 with over 60 people dead and official case numbers climbing rapidly towards 8,000.

The Solomon Islands flag

The Solomon Islands flag Photo: RNZI

Neighbouring Solomon Islands by comparison has no Covid-19 deaths and less than 30 cases of the virus, all of them contained in managed isolation.

However the closeness of PNG's region of Bougainville to Solomon Islands, and the fact it has over a hundred confirmed cases of the virus, continues to the government in Honiara.

Health authorities in the Solomons capital have already been vaccinating frontline health workers in the capital.

The country received its first shipment of 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine a fortnight ago.

But a senior advisor to the Solomons health ministry, Dr Yogesh Choudhri, said their biggest concern was the western border.

"Because that is where the real risk lies. So we are trying our level best to prevent unauthorised entry into Solomon Islands at the western border.

"But still as a proactive measure it is important for us to boost the immunity, the community level immunity in the western border."

Dr Choudhri said that of the 24,000 doses of Astrazeneca, 7,000 will be used in the capital Honiara and 17,000 in the country's west.

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