THE 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for frontline health workers from Australia arrived in Port Moresby yesterday.
Prime Minister James Marape, who was at the airport to receive the vaccines, said the medical scientific advisory committee (Mesac), National Control Centre (NCC), Health Department and the team would meet today to come up with a strategy of distributing the 8,000 vaccines to the hotspot areas in the country, including the National Capital District (NCD), next week.
He also issued a strong warning for people not to stop other people who wanted to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
“For those who do not want to take the vaccine, you cannot stop others who do.
“Our doctors, medical workers are exposed to the Covid-19 with a prevalence of possibly 10 per cent or more of the Covid-19 in our society.”
He said the second dose for the first 8,000 people who would be vaccinated would be given when the vaccines through the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covax-Facility was available in the next three to four months.
“This is not compulsory for all citizens,” he said.
“These vaccines will be available for those who feel that they need to protect themselves.
“But our health workers, in the first instance, will be given preference over the rest of us. If some members of our community feel that they could live and work and adapt without vaccines, you can abscond the vaccines, but you cannot stop others who want to get vaccinated.
“Today, the Covid-19 is prevalent in our environment.
“I do not want to shut down our economy, I do not want to really shut down our businesses from functioning and our public service from coming to a standstill.
“Our country need to live and work and adapt with the Covid-19.”
Marape said with the health workers and everyone exposed to the Covid-19, health authorities were on a lookout for an appropriate vaccine that was fit and proper for transportation, bringing in and storage and use for our citizens and AstraZeneca was chosen.
“Australia, at our invitation, knowing the predicament we are in and at our request, did send in 8,000 today.”
Marape thanked the Australian government for the doses which was meant for its citizens.
He said in a time when the demand for personal protective equipment and vaccine in relation to the Covid-19 was high, “for us to have access to vaccine is something we cannot take for granted”.
The National / Statement/ PNGHealthNews
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