Prime Minister, James Marape has announced in a statement that after studying
the various COVID-19 vaccines developed, the PNG Medical and Scientific
Advisory Committee (MESAC) have recommended that Papua New Guinea source the
WHO approved Astrazeneca vaccine that was developed through the COVID-19
Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility.
He announced this after meeting with Health Minister Jelta Wong, National
Pandemic Controller, David Manning, members of the Joint Task Force,
stakeholders and MESAC.
PM Marape says the Government is now in the process of getting the vaccines which
are hoped to be received by the month of April.
“Seventy thousand (70,000)will be sourced from India and more than 200, 000
will be sourced through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“However, due to the limited number of vaccines that will be available,
vaccination will not be compulsory and it will be targeted at person(s) who are
above the age of 50, have underlying health conditions, and importantly, the
health workers” said Marape.
The Prime Minister expressed concerned for the large number of health
workers that have been affected by COVID-19, and says 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
“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 re-looking 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 reiterated that he would not be taking the vaccine ahead of those
who are in dire need of it, however, would most definitely take it to show
Papua New Guineans that the vaccine is safe.