HONIARA (RNZ PACIFIC) —-Poor uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine in Solomon Islands could see the country’s borders remaining closed until 2023.

Poor uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine in Solomon Islands could see the country’s borders remaining closed until 2023.

This was the warning from prime minister Manasseh Sogavare this week as he reiterated the government’s target of 90 percent vaccination coverage before reopening.

“By Friday of last week, only 44,613 people have completed their full vaccination, representing only 12 percent of the targeted 90 percent coverage,” Manasseh Sogavare said.

Sogavare said this is despite 108,417 people having already had their first jabs.

Manasseh Sogavare said if every one of those people just completed their second dose this would boost the number of fully vaccinated people to 41 percent.

“It is crucial that the 108,417 people that have taken their first doses must go for the second doses and for all those still to be vaccinated to go for their vaccination so that we can reach the target coverage to fully reopen our borders,” he said.

Manasseh Sogavare said the government wants borders to fully reopen but this cannot happen until the majority of the population is vaccinated.

He said at the current of 7000 doses being administered per week, they will not be able to reopen borders until March 2023.

“If we continue at the current rate of 7,000 doses per week, it will take us about 78 weeks or 17 months to reach the 90 percent target, which means we will not be able to reopen our borders until March of 2023,” he said.

Manasseh Sogavare said he would like to see the vaccination rate increased to 20,000 doses per week which could enable the government to reopen the borders in June next year.

“If you all want the borders to reopen quickly and safely, then all the people who are yet to be vaccinated must get vaccinated as soon as possible. We need to vaccinate at least 20,000 people per week. This is an average of 4,000 vaccinations per day throughout the country,” he said…. PACNEWS

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