THE Papua New Guinea Government has approved the taking of Coronavirus (Covid-19) booster shots for all who have been fully vaccinated in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Pandemic Response Controller David Manning says.
“The approval and directive was issued on Thursday. Anyone residing in PNG may receive the booster dose to further protect themselves against Covid-19,” he said.
Manning said booster shots were approved after the National Control Centre (NCC) was advised by the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (Mesac).
He said Mesac deputy chairman from the University of Papua New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Science Professor Sir Isi Kevau gave the formal advice to the NCC.
“Mesac has advised that there is now overwhelming evidence that a Covid-19 booster shot is prudent, even for people who are fully vaccinated as an additional layer of protection,” Manning said.
“The booster shot is important for people who have compromised immune systems or other underlying health conditions and the elderly.
“But also more generally, people who had their primary vaccination more than six months ago should receive a booster dose to enhance effectiveness.
The Mesac recommendation is in line with prevailing advice from medical specialists in partner countries and the World Health Organisation.”
Manning said the Mesac advice was that the booster dose should ideally be of the same vaccine as the person originally received, but this could be changed for those who have received Astrazeneca or Sinopharm.
“This means a person who has been fully vaccinated with Astrazeneca or Sinopharm vaccine should receive a booster shot of AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson (J&J),” he said.
Manning said there was no change to the availability of Covid-19 vaccines.
He said receiving the vaccine remained entirely voluntary.
“It is simply advisable that the best way to survive Covid-19 is to be vaccinated,” Manning said.
“Those fully vaccinated can receive their booster dose from any medical facility where vaccines are available.”
Manning said priority should continue to be provided to the target population groups for all vaccinations.
According to the National Control Centre Covid-19 vaccination daily dashboard, as of Sunday, 398,707 doses of vaccines have been administered in the country, of which 19,392 were Sinopharm, 130,631 J&J and 239,684 AstraZeneca.
To date, 229,423 people have been fully vaccinated.
It is recommended that when receiving a booster dose, refer to the table above.
The National / PNG Health Watch
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