PNG Acquires More Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine from New Zealand

by PNG Business News - June 21, 2021

Photo Credit: PNG Health Department

 

Through the COVAX facility, Papua New Guinea has acquired a further 146,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from New Zealand.

Although testing is restricted, the true number of people affected is anticipated to be considerably higher. PNG has documented over 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus, the great majority of which occurred in the last several months. Officially, 167 people have died.

The doses donated by New Zealand, according to PNG's Health Secretary, Osborne Liko, would strengthen the country's immunization program and guarantee that more people, especially critical frontline workers, are protected.

"These doses will ensure more lives are saved and that frontline workers can continue to provide essential services to the people of Papua New Guinea,'' Dr Liko said.

However, PNG officials have had a difficult time getting people to vaccinate, with reluctance being a major roadblock.

Only 41,000 people, most vital employees and about 7,000 health personnel, have received the first dosage of Astrazeneca since March.

However, up to a hundred thousand Astrazeneca pills provided by Australia and India earlier this year are expected to go to waste next month when they expire, unless the rate of adoption rises.

Dr Daoni Esorom, Papua New Guinea's Deputy Pandemic Response Controller, said the 146,000 doses sent by New Zealand will assist the Department of Health and the National Control Centre is rolling out the second dose of Astrazeneca among frontline health workers and other essential front line workers.

The fact that PNG is receiving 20% of the doses sent to it from the COVAX facility, while partners such as the Australian and New Zealand governments will support additional doses to the PNG government - all of which are purported to enable the government to vaccinate 50% of its eligible population - according to Dr Daoni.

Phillip Taula, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, recently received the dosages at Jackson's Airport.

"As whanaunga, friends, and partners, Aotearoa New Zealand stands alongside the Pacific at this difficult time," he said.

"PNG's success in tackling COVID-19 has been hard-won at an enormous cost to your economy and livelihoods. New Zealand is proud to be partnering with PNG to help us all get through this."

 

Reference:

RNZ (18 June 2021). “PNG receives 146-thousand vaccine doses from NZ”. 



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