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Papua New Guinea PM about approved AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: First people, then me

Christian Fernsby |
Papua New Guinea has granted regulatory approval for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to be used in the country.

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Topics: PAPUA NEW GUINEA   

As PNG struggles to contain the spread of Covid-19, with its total number of confirmed cases approaching 2000, the government is preparing for the vaccine rollout, saying it hopes this will begin by April.

Prime Minister James Marape said the PNG Medical and Scientific Advisory Comittee has studied the various Covid-19 vaccines developed.

He said it recommended that PNG source the AstraZeneca vaccine developed through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access, or COVAX, facility. It has also been approved by the World Health Organisation.

Marape explained that seventy thousand doses will be sourced from India, and more than 200,000 will be sourced through Australia.

According to him, due to the limited number of vaccines available, vaccination would not be compulsory. It will be targeted at health workers, people over the age of 50 and those with underlying health conditions.

In a statement, Marape voiced concern that a large number of health workers have been affected by Covid-19, therefore, they will be given priority for vaccination.

"Health workers will be vaccinated first as we are seeing a growing number of health workers who are getting infected in the line of their work,"he said.

"There is evidence that there is a large community transmission in the National Capital District, and that is affecting health workers who have come in contact with Covid-19 patients in the course of their duty.

"This is a serious community transmission and we are now relooking at our own isolation strategies, and how we can best look after our health workers while processes for bringing in the vaccine are completed and the vaccines are brought into the country."

The prime minister said he would not be taking the vaccine ahead of those who need it most, and would only take it to show Papua New Guineans that the vaccine can boost their immune system to fight the virus.


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