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With over 1,500 essential workers already vaccinated in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea Health Minister Jelta Wong is optimistic that the numbers will continue to increase as the demand around the country grows.
The first batch of 132,000 vaccines arrived Tuesday in Port Moresby through the COVAX facility in preparation for the Governments National Vaccine Roll-Out. This vaccine will be distributed to all provinces for the vaccination of health care workers and other front line essential workers. Through the COVAX facility, a total of 588,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be made available to Papua New Guineans.
In response to the concerns about AstraZeneca Minister Wong advised, “To date over 200 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered around the world. The European and UK regulatory authorities have reviewed and continue to review available data on reports of rare thromboembolic events in those who have been vaccinated in order to understand whether a plausal link can be established with the AZ vaccine.”
European and UK regulatory authorities have reviewed and continue to review available data on reports of rare thromboembolic events in those who have been vaccinated in order to understand whether a causal link can be established with the AZ vaccine.
They have concluded that the benefits of taking the AZ vaccine outweigh the known potential risks. If there is a link, the events are very rare and the risk is extremely low.
WHO advises countries should continue to vaccinate with the AZ vaccine, which has saved millions of lives and prevented serious illness.
The possible risk of vaccinating - as per the UK Regulatory Agency (MHRA) report on 31st of March 2021, a total of 79 cases of thromboembolic events with thrombocytopenia have been reported among 20.2 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca administered in the UK. The overall risk of these blood clots is approximately 4 people in a million who receive the vaccine.
The risk of NOT vaccinating - as of 7 April 2021, 2.86 million people worldwide have died of COVID-19, and infections continue to rise. AZ vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in preventing the most severe forms of the COVID-19 and death caused by COVID-19. Persons above the age of 50 are at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 should they be infected. This risk increases with age.
They have concluded that the benefits of taking the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the known potential risks. If there is a link, the events are very rare and the risk is extremely low.
“The risk of severe disease, death or hospitalization as a result of COVID-19 infection is extremely serious. Vaccination is one of the key tools to preventing COVID-19 and to ending the pandemic. Serious side effects may occur from any vaccine but they are extremely rare. It is important to remember that we are witnessing the largest mass vaccination campaign in history, and some rare reactions are to be expected.
“Papua New Guinea's infection rate continues to rise rapidly, and as a responsible Government - it is our duty to make vaccines available. I reiterate that taking the vaccine is not mandatory, but it is definitely encouraged.
“Our Prime Minister, Our Governor General and our Chief Justice have all taken the vaccine. That in itself is a strong statement from our country’s leadership,” said Minister Wong.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police and Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response David Manning has issued directions for air service providers permitting two groups of people to travel.
This includes students returning to their usual place of residence or returning to their education institution and persons returning to their usual places of residence. In both cases one-way tickets will be issued.
The direction comes into force Tuesday and continues in force during the period of the pandemic or as amended in writing by the Controller.
Manning said PNG’s total COVID-19 confirmed cases has reached 8,821 as of Monday 12 April, with the death toll at 69. He said more cases are expected today which will inevitably increase the country’s total COVID-19 cases.
Manning said that is why measures have been put in place to assist the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
He called upon all citizens to cooperate and work with the government in containing the further spread of the virus.
SOURCE: PNG GOVT/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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