On Monday 26th April 2021, the Ministry of Health Risk Communication and Community Engagement Team with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the Australian Government through the Vanuatu Health Program held a COVID-19 vaccination awareness session with Health partners. This includes representatives from the Vanuatu Red Cross Society, Wan Smolbag Theatre, Port Vila City Council, Port Vila central ward, Shefa Provincial Health, Save the Children and Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Health continues to engage with critical community leaders and organisations to prepare communities for the rollout of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
The first Training of trainers (TOT) was provided to Public Health Partners based In Port Vila as they will be supporting the MOH in communicating key messages and preparing target communities for the upcoming vaccination roll-out.
Mr. Jean-Jacques Rory, Manager of the Health Promotion Unit at the Ministry of Health thanked the 50 plus participants for their attendance and their support towards the vaccine roll-out process.
“The Ministry of Health has always been very appreciative of your support to deliver critical public health messages to our communities. As Vanuatu faces an unprecedent risk of a highly infectious disease, we are calling on your leadership towards your communities to ensure a peaceful and successful rollout of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine”, said Manager Rory.
UNICEF and World Health Organisation representatives also provided accurate information about the situation of COVID-19 in the world and introduced WHO-certified COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.
“The COVID-19 virus is highly infectious and is the origin of over 3 million people’s death worldwide to date. The rollout of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is the safest option available for Vanuatu to protect its communities,” said Philippe Guyant, WHO representative.
The Health Promotion Unit (HPU) Team introduced the Ministry of Health communications plan to ensure the people of Vanuatu receive accurate information about the vaccination program. This will be implemented in different phases. The first phase is focusing on a series of face-to-face awareness sessions with key groups and national bodies.
HPU personnel distributed Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs) document to equip participants, community leaders and public health partners with clear and accurate information in Bislama about COVID-19 disease, COVID-19 vaccine and AstraZeneca vaccine. This communication tool should help them respond to concerns expressed by community members. HPU Team have also mentioned to refer to official sources to receive reliable information such as the Facebook page – health promotions Vanuatu –and website –www.COVID19.gov.vu– of the Ministry of Health and the WHO website–www.who.int.
Several community leaders and representatives of national organisations have already expressed their strong support to the Ministry of Health to rollout the vaccination program.
“My community lives in Seaside Tongoa which is close to resorts and to the Vila Central Hospital. If the virus arrives in Vanuatu, they would be very exposed. As a Chief and Chairman of Port Vila Central Ward, I must think of for their own safety first. I am in favour of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” said Chief Paul Fred.
Health Promotion Unit
Department of Public Health