8th April 2021, Port Vila: The Ministry of Health would like to provide an update to the public on the preparations and the plan for rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Vanuatu in 2021.
The Ministry of Health of Vanuatu continues working closely with partners to access the COVID-19 vaccine and prepare systems to safely receive and distribute. Due to limited global supply, Vanuatu will be receiving COVID-19 vaccines in batches, with the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines planned to arrive soon.
Vanuatu has been allocated an initial batch of 10,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the COVAX Facility. Over the course of 2021, the Government expects to receive enough vaccines to vaccinate the initial 20 per cent of the population as per the first phase of its rollout plan. Prioritised groups for the first batch of vaccines that will be rolled out on Efate and its offshore islands for priority groups that includes; health workers, frontline workers, elderly or older people years 55 and over and people with existing medical conditions. These people are prioritized because they are either at a higher of risk of catching COVID-19 and or of at most risk of becoming seriously ill or dying if they get the disease.
With the progress of the roll out plan in place, Ministry of Health has registered with the COVAX facility and once the Parliamentary Session is held this month and given approval for the indemnity agreement, Vanuatu will receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines soon after to start the roll out campaign.
All vaccines contain a very low risk of adverse reaction (known as Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI)).Thorough vaccine trials and regulations are undertaken to ensure safety and efficacy of the vaccine so that the risk is as low as possible. As for other vaccines in use for years in Vanuatu, mild reactions can be expected, such as fever, soreness at injection point, headache, muscle pain, and fatigue in the first few days after injection. Allergic reactions can occur as well. Systems are currently in place to help prevent and respond to Adverse Events Following Immunization.
The Ministry of Health continues to encourage the public to get reliable information only from the Ministry of Health and WHO on the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals and communities are asked to take the time to check information before sharing. Globally, as countries roll out COVID-19 vaccines, WHO continues to keep a close eye on vaccine safety.
The timeframe for when enough people around the world will receive the vaccine to build herd immunity is unknown. It is important to continue to practice the recommended public health safety measures to keep our friends, family and community healthy and safe.
The Ministry of Health will continue to provide periodic updates to the public on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information:
Keep up to date with information from the Ministry of Health as well as from other credible sources like WHO.
Following this, the Ministry of Health will be providing regular updates to the public on the plan and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ministry of Health COVID-19 webpage: www.covid19.gov.vu
Ministry of Health, Health Promotions Vanuatu Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HealthPromotions-Vanuatu-1674266679566197/
WHO COVID-19 outbreak webpage: www.who.int/coronavirus