NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines

PAPUA New Guinea has received an additional 146,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from New Zealand through the Covax facility.
NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines NZ sends PNG 146,000 vaccines

Staff Reporter

PNG has recorded almost 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus, the vast majority in the past few months, although testing remains limited and the real number of those infected is expected to be far higher. The official death toll is 167, Radio New Zealand reported at the weekend.
 
Health secretary Dr Osborne Liko said the doses gifted by New Zealand would boost PNG's vaccination programme and ensure that more people, including essential frontline workers, will be 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,'' Liko said.
 
However, PNG authorities have struggled with a slow uptake of vaccination so far, with hesitancy a major obstacle.
 
Since March, only 41,000 people have taken the first dose of AstraZeneca, mainly essential workers and around 7000 health workers.
 
However up to a hundred thousand doses of AstraZeneca sent earlier this year by Australia and India are set to go to waste next month when they expire, unless the uptake increases.
 
PNG deputy pandemic response controller Dr Daoni Esorom said the doses would help the Department of Health and the National Control Centre to roll out the second dose of AstraZeneca among front-line health workers and other essential front-line workers.
 
Esorom said that donations from New Zealand, Australia and through Covaz would enable the vaccination of half the eligible population of PNG.
 
The doses were received at Jackson's Airport on Tuesday by the New Zealand High commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Phillip Taula.
 
"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," Taula said.
 

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