The country’s first Pfizer vaccine doses have arrived in Honiara today.

The 100,620 doses were donated by the US government through the COVAX facility.

(L to R) Director Planning & Policy MHMS Ivan Ghemu, Dr Elizabeth Rogers MHMS, William Pryor Country Director USAID, Director US Embassy Office Solomon Islands, Minister MHMS Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana, MHMS PS Pauline Mcneil, MEHRD PS Dr Franco Rodie, UNICEF SI Field Officer Dr Zelalem Taffesse, MHMS Advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri

Speaking during the arrival of the vaccine, Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr Culwick Togamana thanked the US government for supporting the country’s fight against COVID-19.

“It is a great honor to stand here on behalf of our children 12-18 years old and pregnant women to receive the Pfizer vaccine doses provided to us for free by the government of the United States of America through the COVAX facility.’

Mr Togamana also thanked UNICEF for their continuous support in enabling the country to receive and store the vaccine under its required storage temperature of minus 70 Celsius.

I wish to thank UNICEF for enhancing our capacity and capability to receive, store and distribute the vaccines across the country and also the tireless efforts behind the procurement shipment and delivery processes.”

Mr Togamana said a 5 Ultra-cold chain equipment with a 100 kilovolt-amperes (KVA) was installed at the national medical store prior to the arrival of the vaccine.

He added around 240 thousand Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country to date.

Of the doses administered, 14.3 percent of the eligible population were fully vaccinated while 43.5- percent have had their first doses.

Pfizer Vaccine at Honiara International Airport

Meanwhile, Director of the US Embassy office in Solomon Islands, Russell Comeau said his government is proud to donate the vaccines to Solomon Islands.

The United States government is honored to support the government of Solomon Islands with the donation of these 100,620 Pfizer doses. These vaccines are an important step in protecting the health of Solomon Islanders and also supports communities,” Mr Comeau said. 

The US government has provided 35- million US dollars in direct COVID-19 relief and recovery assistance to the pacific region. 

Mr Comeau said the donation signifies the close relationship between the two countries.

The US remains as the largest contributor towards the global fight against COVID-19 by committing 4-billion US dollars to the COVAX facility.

The United States recently reached the milestone of donating 200 million doses of vaccine through the COVAX facility. 

More than 8-hundred thousand of the vaccines were provided for free to Pacific Islands countries 

By Sharon Nanau

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