COVID has penetrated communities in the Solomon Islands but vaccination rates must radically improve to see the virus defeated

COVID has penetrated communities in the Solomon Islands but vaccination rates must radically improve to see the virus defeated

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 22-Jan-2022

The Solomon Islands has seen COVID-19 breach preventative measures having been strictly and effectively enforced by the government with SOE regulations and the good work of the MMHMS and frontline workers.

Yesterday there were initial reports of 169 COVID cases in the community with the concern of other cases arising.

With the Central Field hospital full to near capacity with those suffering from COVID problems and the ever present danger to the transfer of the covid virus, the National Referral Hospital NRH) was forced to restrict entry to protect the patients already confined there with other illnesses.

Those suspected with having contracted the COVID virus have been told to self-quarantine at home- and one hopes such a strategy will work.

It has not yet been made known if the people who are said to have got COVID are suffering from the latest strain of the virus – the Omnicom variant – and the one said to be highly transferrable, but believed less deadly than the earlier Delta variant.

Last week the WHO had the following to say on the Omnicom variant, and I will quote the press release from the UN.

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge across the world, the UN health agency on Tuesday said that it was crucial that more is done to help all countries receive lifesaving coronavirus jabs as quickly as possible.

The development comes as a senior World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist repeated the agency’s message that countries could not “boost” their way out of the pandemic, while the Omicron variant was transmitting so “intensely”, just as the Delta variant has done.

“In the context of intense social mixing, in the context of limited use of proven public health measures, in the context of limited vaccination coverage globally…those are conditions that will allow any variant, any virus, to thrive,” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove told BBC radio. “Omicron is taking advantage of that, and so is Delta.”

Global Infections Surge

Before the holiday period, 128 countries reported that they had identified Omicron, the WHO said, during a scheduled press briefing in Geneva.

WHO epidemiologist Dr Abdi Mahamud, told journalists that there was still not enough data available to say whether the Omicron variant is less severe than other coronavirus strains.

He noted that in London, which has been “hit very hard” by spiking numbers of COVID-19 infections, hospitalisation rates were around 20 per cent lower now than they had been in 2020, before vaccinations were available.

“So the main message is, if you are vaccinated, you are protected, but if you are vulnerable or if you have not been vaccinated, this Omicron - however light or mild it may be for others - it could hit you very hard,” he said. “So, vaccination (is) very critical.”

The WHO epidemiologist noted that an increasing number of studies seemed to show that the Omicron variant appeared to affect mostly the upper respiratory tract, causing milder symptoms.

Other strains impact the lungs, and could cause severe pneumonia, he said, but further research was needed to prove this Omicron assessment.

“The challenge has not been the vaccine, but the vaccination of the most vulnerable populations,” he said, before urging more countries to push for 70 per cent vaccine coverage as soon as possible.

Without this level of vaccine protection, the virus “replicates in an environment that’s overcrowded, not ventilated and not vaccinated”, Dr Mahamud continued, describing these types of settings as ideal places for COVID-19 to mutate.

“We saw it in Beta, we saw it in Delta, we saw it in Omicron, so it is in the global interest” to vaccinate 70 per cent of national populations to reduce the impact of the variant, he said.

Fair share

WHO’s call for vaccine equity is not new and comes as many wealthy countries consider offering a fourth coronavirus vaccine to their populations.

Before Christmas, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “blanket booster programmes” were likely to prolong the pandemic “by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate”.

The WHO chief stressed that the priority must be on supporting countries to vaccinate 40 per cent of their populations as quickly as possible, and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022.


 End of quote.


The quoted piece stresses the importance of vaccinations about the risk of contracting COVID –a message the MHMS and the SI Government has been pushing for months – and a message I have been sharing with readers.

I very much hope Solomon Islands will soon be able to cast aside the new cases of COVID to have occurred and finally the message of getting oneself fully vaccinated will see the vaccination rate among the community rise from just 17 percent to 70 percent or more as the safest precaution for one and all citizens.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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