By LULU MARK
THE quantity of the Covid-19 vaccine and the timeline regarding its supply to the country should be known by April, according to Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Jelta Wong.
He was responding to an article published on a website on Jan 13 that Gavi, the vaccine alliance, had awarded Abt Associates a position on a contract to help roll out the Covid-19 vaccines in 24 countries including PNG.
The article says the contract will form part of a global strategy to stop the Covid-19 transmission and loss of lives. Gavi is a leader of Covax – a coalition of organisations and governments ensuring an equitable distribution of the vaccine worldwide. Wong explained that it was a Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) programme which he had not received any advice from yet.
“This is a DFAT programme (and) once they have done their selections, confirmed their processes, they will (contact) the Health Department through the Health secretary,” he said.
“With respect to the timing, we are hoping that by April we will have some sort of timeline and quantity for PNG. The Government has not decided on which vaccine (we want) as we are waiting further reports on the diagnostic of the vaccine and seeing what the side effects are or what is suitable for our people.”
According to the article, the award was the first step for Abt to support the implementation of national deployment plans for the Covid-19 vaccine by delivering technical assistance to countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia.
“Abt can hit the ground running to support Gavi in deploying the vaccines,” division vice-president international development Eric J. Reading said.
By LULU MARK