With more than 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine remaining and the expiry date looming, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is appealing to people to take the vaccine that was made available despite a global shortage.
Marape, who took the first dose of the vaccine in March, took the second dose Thursday at the Covid-19 National Control Centre (NCC) in Port Moresby.
Joining him was National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning, Dr Garry Nou and other doctors and staff from NCC.
Dispelling fake news and rumours, Marape said he had not experienced any form of side effects from the first dose and now, with the second dose, he was on the path to acquire 80 per cent immunity against the Covid-19 after 40 days.
According to NCC, 39,877 people have been vaccinated by 08 June and 6,288 were health workers, 32,855 were essential workers and 734 were people aged 45 and above and with comorbidities.
The vaccines from the Covax facility that were sent to Western, Western Highlands and East Sepik will expire on 18 July and those that were sent to the rest of the country will expire on 29 July.
“We have over 100,000 doses that are still in our storage areas,” Marape said. “(When) the entire world is looking for vaccines, it will be quite sad if we have some vaccines that go to waste.
“Our people need to be vaccinated. “Government is doing everything possible to have the vaccine available and if you do not get yourself vaccinated and you feel sick and (maybe) die, then you have yourself to blame.
“Government wasn’t imposing on everyone to be vaccinated.
“It’s a choice that you have to make.” Marape said countries were scrambling for vaccines as it was not available and accessible to all the 200-plus countries globally.
He said PNG was lucky to have access to vaccines at the very earliest, thanks to the friendship, active relationship and network with partners such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Covax facility and the Australian government.
He said by now there should be good, substantial progress of the vaccination on health workers and other essential workers and as more vaccines were made available, it would be extended to other members of the society through the vaccination rollout network that was already established.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS