THE country should expect a third surge of Covid-19 cases from July, given the slow rate of vaccination for frontline health workers, an official says.
National Pandemic Response deputy controller Dr Daoni Esorom said that as of Tuesday, 26,759 people had been vaccinated including 4,831 frontline health workers and 21,928 essential workers.
Only 12 of those vaccinated reported a side-effect which were “mild to moderate”.
They have all recovered.
Daoni said the challenge now for the National Control Centre (NCC) was to step up its advocacy programmes to help health workers and others understand that the vaccine was safe.
He said the surge from February to May this year had slowed down. And according to the trend, another surge is expected from between July and September.
Of the 15,547 total cases recorded in PNG, 1,533 were frontline health workers. Yet many of them were still reluctant to get the vaccine.
By the end of this year, the NCC expects to have a clearer picture on the “seasonality” of the Covid-19 in PNG.
“To prevent another surge we have to adhere to the Niupela Pasin or control measures,” he said.
“The good thing is that we have the vaccines which the health workers and essential workers should take. (Although) the vaccine will not prevent Covid-19 infection, it will at least reduce the severity of it.
“Even if you are fully vaccinated (two doses of the vaccine) you must still wear a mask, physical distance and wash/sanitise your hands.”
PNG has already received 150,480 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The first 132,000 doses came from the Covax-Facility, followed by 8,480 supplied by Australia, and another 10,000 received last week.
The NCC expects to receive 288,000 more doses of the vaccine from the Covax-Facility soon to begin the second phase of the vaccination.
The vaccine will be made available to the general public in August.
The National / PNGhealthWatch
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