PNG COVID challenges increase

Posted on 27 August 2021

PNG COVID challenges increase

As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds, more than 130,000 vaccines donated by the global facility COVAX doses have expired in Papua New Guinea, reports the Lowy Institute.

With a population of roughly 8 million, statistics reveal fewer than 100,000 people have received the Covid-19 vaccine to date. Some worry the country could still be asleep to the full extent of its Covid-19 outbreak. Earlier this year, soaring case numbers stretched PNG’s medical resources and personnel.  Covid-19 is now considered by some in PNG as simply another disease alongside others at large, including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera and even polio.

"I think we should stop punishing ourselves and keep living," Dr Yockapua said, adding that sections of the population may have developed herd immunity. This theory has been  rejected by his colleagues.

The Lowry Institute states that getting vaccinations is only part of the problem, and making people understand the urgency is critical. Testing for the virus was scaled back by PNG's pandemic response authorities in June, as they shifted their focus to vaccination. Vaccination has moved slowly, in no small part because misinformation about vaccines is still rife, and has created great hesitancy.