Prime Minister (PM), Bob Loughman, is expected to receive his first dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine today.
He will be receiving the vaccine with other Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers and Chinese nationals during the launching of the Sinopharm vaccine at the Convention Centre in Port Vila.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) is expecting at least 150 first people who will be vaccinated against coronavirus with Sinopharm vaccine today.
Today’s launch follows the recent hand over of the vaccines from the Chinese Government to the Vanuatu Government.
Sinopharm vaccine has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and received the emergency use listing which means it is safe to use and is effective to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines will be kept in cold storage awaiting the MoH’s rollout plan, which will clearly detail out the operation and rollout to the communities in Vanuatu.
As part of this, the MoH carried out training of healthcare workers on the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that healthcare workers are equipped with the right knowledge and skills to handle and administer the vaccine.
PM Loughman said the statement that “the additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccines that Vanuatu has received will help us achieve our goal to vaccinate all people in the country who are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“With the high number of COVID-19 cases elsewhere around the world, there is a huge global vaccine demand against a limited supply, which means Vanuatu is very fortunate to have this support from the Chinese Government.”
For maximum protection, everyone receiving the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine must have two doses. WHO recommends that second doses be received after 3-4 weeks.
The vaccine has already been administered to millions of people in China and elsewhere, age 18 and over. One of the keys advantages of the Sinopharm vaccine is that it can be stored in a standard refrigerator at between 2-8 degrees Celsius, similar to AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sinopharm vaccine rollout plan will be communicated to the public once it is finalised.