By LULU MARK
THERE is a need to increase the demand for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination throughout Papua New Guinea as the uptake is very low, Dr Daoni Esorom says.
The National Pandemic Response deputy controller said PNG did not do well in phase one of the vaccination with 1,094 vials (close to 12,000 doses) of AstraZeneca expired and destroyed in July.
“Right now we have enough vaccines but the challenge remains in getting the people to get it,” he said.
“We have enough in stock, our challenge is to increase the demand.”
Dr Esorom said under the Covax-facility arrangement, countries were to send their request every month based on their need and so vaccines would still be available in PNG.
He said on Wednesday that 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca that would expire in two months were sent to Vietnam through the Covax.
“This is like a credit for us so 30,000 doses will be available to us when we need them.”
Dr Esorom said the responsibility for the rollout of the vaccine was transferred by the Health Department to the National Control Centre so a task force was established to review the national strategy on vaccination rollout.
“The challenge is venturing into the rural areas where the bulk of the population is illiterate.
“We have a big task to educate our people about the facts of Covid-19 and the benefits of the vaccination. He said vaccination would not prevent one from getting the Covid-19 but it would prevent severe effects and deaths and people should get it.
According to NCC incident manager Dr Melinda Susapu, as of Sunday 144,248 people were vaccinated of which 107,890 received only one dose and 36,353 received two doses (fully vaccinated).
She said the vaccines currently in country and available were the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Johnson & Johnson.
By LULU MARK