SYDNEY, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The Solomon Islands started to inoculate China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines on Friday with Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga being the first one to receive the jab on site.
He said the Solomon Islands is the first among the Pacific island countries to receive and roll out Chinese vaccines nationwide, which shows that the two countries are good friends with mutual trust and good partners with sincere cooperation. The Chinese side will continue to make joint efforts with the Solomon Islands to fight against the pandemic and build up a global community of health for all.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare expressed gratitude for the Chinese side for providing the vaccines at the request of the Solomon Islands, saying the vaccination would be another milestone for the country's pandemic control.
Sogavare said the government has great confidence in the vaccine's safety and effectiveness, and Deputy Prime Minister Maelanga's inoculation is to set an example for all the people in the country. The government has planned to roll out the vaccines to all provinces, which he believes would provide protection for the Solomon Islands people, especially those working at the frontline.
Health Minister Culwick Togamana said health authorities had already conducted the necessary training for the medical staff to ensure they are fully equipped with relevant knowledge and skills. He also encouraged Solomon Islands people to get vaccinated.
Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, several parliament members, envoys of foreign countries and international organisations, as well as representatives from Chinese companies and Chinese communities also attended the ceremony.
The Solomon Islands received a batch of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines in early April, which was the first among Pacific island countries to get the COVID-19 vaccine from China through bilateral channels.