Government looks at AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Prime Minister James Marape says the PNG Medical and Scientific Advisory Comittee (MESAC), has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for Papua New Guinea.

After studying the various COVID-19 vaccines developed, MESAC recommended that PNG access the AstraZeneca vaccine that was developed through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility and approved by the World Health Organisation.

He announced this after a meeting with Health Minister Jelta Wong, National Pandemic Controller David Manning, members of the Joint Task Force, stakeholders and the MESAC.

“We are now in the process of getting the vaccine across, hopefully by April,” PM Marape said.
“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."

PM Marape is concerned 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 re-looking 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.”
Prime Minister Marape said he would not be taking the vaccine ahead of those who really need it, and would only take it to show Papua New Guineans that the vaccine can boost their immune system to fight COVID-19.

Press Release