Malekula population ready for COVID-19 vaccinations

The Malampa Public Health Office says COVID-19 vaccination awareness programs show the island’s population is looking forward to getting vaccinated.

Public health officials say they aim to vaccinate every eligible person on Malekula with first vaccine shots within two weeks; and will then move onto administering second shots.

Salome Kenneth, Malampa Public Health Manager and the Incident Controller for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Malampa, says the office has run COVID vaccine awareness programs in all of Malekula’s six council areas.

Mrs Kenneth says area administrators took six teams from area councils into communities to explain how the vaccines work and their effectiveness in protecting people from contracting COVID-19.

The Environmental Health Officer for Malampa Public Health, Xavier Watt, says in the areas he visited people wanted to get vaccinated before Vanuatu’s borders open up to the world.

Mr Watt led an awareness team that provided COVID vaccine information in the Vareas, Lamap, Okai, Farun, Arop, Raniem and Renaur communities and on Maskelyn, Avok and Akham islands.

He says the information teams clarify misleading information and respond to community concerns and questions.
“Prevention is better than cure,” Mr Watt said.

“The COVID vaccine will help protect our communities if there is, for example, any future community transmission of the virus like occurred in Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.”

The Area Administrator for South West Malekula, Gerald Tamau, says the people in his area are also keen to get vaccinated.
Mr Tamau says a vaccine awareness team had covered the communities of Carolyn Bay, Toman Island and Melip.

Mrs Kenneth says Malampa Public Health will launch COVID-19 vaccination in Malampa on 12 October and aims to vaccinate 200 eligible people.

She says the Malampa COVID-19 vaccination team will start by providing vaccines from the Norsup Hospital.

And after two weeks and with vaccination continuing in Norsup, a mobile team will deploy to another six sites to provide vaccines.

These sites include the Atchin Health Centre where the team will spend two weeks to cover “the big population from North East Malekula”.

Then the team will be deployed for a week in each of the following locations: Espagles Bay, Unmet Dispensary, Aulua Dispensary, Lamap Health Centre, Ahkamb Dispensary and Southwest Bay Health Centre.

Mrs Kenneth says despite heavy rains over the weekend disrupting some vaccine awareness programs, people are ready to be vaccinated.

The COVID-19 vaccine awareness in Malekula began on 24 September.

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