By LULU MARK
THE Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine was launched in Papua New Guinea on Tuesday at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) and will be rolled out throughout country through the Health Department’s national vaccine distribution system.
The 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines were donated by China and arrived in PNG on June 23 of which 21,000 would be taken up by the Chinese citizens while the rest would be available for PNG citizens and other residents on a voluntary basis.
So far, more than 2,000 Chinese citizens have received the vaccine.
Some PNG citizens and other expatriates received the jab at the launch ceremony.
PMGH is now the first Sinopharm vaccination site in PNG and is open to the public where people between the age of 18 and 65 can receive the jab.
The second dose of the Sinopharm vaccine is administered at an interval of 21-28 days after the first dose.
Vaccination has been opened to the public and though some are still hesitant, many others have turned up to get their shots. The National caught up with some people who received their first dose and got their thoughts on the Covid-19 vaccine and why they chose to be vaccinated. Here are what some said:
Dickson Watt: There are all sorts of information about these vaccines on social media that has had an effect on a lot of people, including me which led to skepticism. But then again, we just have to go with what the authorities say and I think that’s the safest way to go. The other thing is if you say vaccination is voluntary and if you don’t provide other options, it becomes an issue. I decided to take the jab and it’s okay.
Ena Segive: At first, I was afraid of getting the vaccine, but I was more afraid of this disease, the Covid-19. I was told that the vaccine would protect me. I might get the Covid-19 in the future and if they say this will protect me then I should just get it. My bosses said we would go today to get the vaccine and after my friend got the jab and said it was alright, I went and got mine.
Anderson Ting: We can’t eradicate the Covid-19, but we can minimise community transmission. It is important that everyone get vaccinated against the Covid-19. One has to pay every year to get the flu vaccine so basically that implies how important it is to get the vaccine. For businesses, it is very important to get the vaccine so that everyone is protected and business can continue.
Cinnar Kopyoto: The vaccine is for the good of our health to protect us against the Covid-19. Everyone should get it despite the misinformation about it. Its benefits outweigh the doubts and fears. I was waiting for this Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and I am glad to have received my first dose.
Helen Tarawa: At first, I was fearful of the vaccine, but have decided to get the jab and I am happy. The work I do requires a lot of travelling so it is important to get vaccinated. I believe it’s good for us, although there’s still anxiety and uncertainty and confusion on whether we should or we should not.
Qwentan Chollai: I think we should all get ourselves vaccinated. The developed countries have gone into lockdown, even in Sydney, Australia, recently. I am not sure how PNG would deal with another surge. For me, at the age of 58, I think I should get vaccinated. It’s better to get the vaccination rather than to wait for the emergency. The vaccination should be effectively driven to the rural populace because it is very difficult for most of them. We are lucky in Port Moresby where we can visit the vaccination station to get the jab.
Lt-Col Edward Kemo Miro: Probably along the way, things might get worse, a different strain might come up and just to be protected, you have a choice whether to get the vaccine or not. Sometimes we forget and get tired of wearing the mask and sanitising our hands or we run out of sanitisers and there is a risk there that we might get infected. The Covid-19 is communicable so to protect yourself and others, it is better be vaccinated. Based on that, I came and got the shot. I was waiting for this Sinopharm vaccine.
More on Sinopharm
Chinese vaccine producers Sinovac and Sinopharm have signed on to global vaccine sharing scheme Covax, which aims to distribute vaccines to poorer countries.
Covax has agreements with the manufacturers of 11 vaccines and plans to provide 2 billion doses across the world by early 2022.
Both Sinopharm and Sinovac, which have been approved by the World Health Organisation for emergency use, are already being used in China and dozens of countries around the world (More than 80 countries are using China’s Covid vaccines, including many in Asia, among them Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.).
The WHO approved the Sinopharm vaccine which is produced by a Chinese state-owned company.
Like Sinovac, it is an inactivated vaccine which triggers the production of antibodies that fight the coronavirus.
The virus is killed before being injected into people’s bodies, so it can’t transmit Covid-19.