Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical services has closed all vaccination sites in Honiara today.

The Health Ministry said they have had to close off the sites to prevent the spread of the virus to the public and health workers.

There were chaotic scenes at the vaccination sites in Honiara, hundreds packed the area, with no control over the flow of people wanting the jab. This prompted the early closure of some sites.

The Health Ministry say the vaccination team will have to reassess how best to proceed with the vaccination drive, one that is safe for health workers and the public.

The Ministry of Health said up to 3,234 people have been vaccinated since the new drive started on Monday but admits it’s been a challenge trying to control the crowd.

The public have been raising concerns on social media that these vaccination sites are fast becoming super spreaders, and calls on the health team to consider doing house to house or a drive through vaccination center.

Others have suggested using large areas such as the Lawson Tama stadium, which is big enough to ensure social distancing is practiced.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Medical services Dr Culwick Togamana has spoken out against stigmatising those that have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Fellow citizens, these are unprecedented times, the challenge remains that we work together to eliminate the virus from our shores.

“In doing so, it is important that we refrain from stigmatisation or stigmatizing others because they are carrying the infection nor label them with names,” the Health Minister said.

He said instigating and promoting stigmatisation during the outbreak will only further hamper efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“Many people will not want to come forward for testing nor admit to carrying COVID-19 symptoms due to fear of being stigmatized. Let us all work together to prevent this from happening.”

The Health Minister said what is needed during this COVID-19 pandemic is for us to support each other, as “we are stronger, more abled, and effective when we unite and join forces.”

He said there are currently a total 1,852 COVID-19 postive cases recorded in the country, most of the cases are in Honiara.

In an effort to understand the spread of the current COVID-19 outbreak the Ministry of Health and Medical services have deployed rapid antigen test kits to all the nine provinces in the country.

“As of Tuesday the National Medical Store have successfully completed the shipment of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kit to all our nine provinces.

“The shipment included PPEs and necessary medications to manage symptoms of COVID-19.

“We have deployed the rapid test kit (to the province) and our health teams will conduct COVID-19 testing today and onwards and results will be conveyed in the coming days,” the Health Minister said.

“I am calling on all our good people across the country that should our health teams conduct contact tracing please be truthful and once approached for swabbing or testing using the rapid test kit please come forward.”

The Health Minister said this is how individuals and communities can significantly contribute towards our efforts against COVID-19.

He acknowledges the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Solomon Airlines and all other partners and stakeholders who have contributed towards swift deployment of these items to the provinces.