The Controller of the National COVID-19 Pandemic Response, Police Commissioner David Manning, has advised that booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine have now been approved for use in Papua New Guinea.
Mr. Manning said that the National Control Centre has been provided advice from the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee (MESAC) that the additional vaccine coverage is now recommended.
“MESAC have advised that there is now overwhelming evidence that a COVID-19 booster shot is prudent even for people who are fully vaccinated as an additional layer of protection.
“The booster shot is be important for people who have compromised immune systems or other underlying health conditions, and the elderly.
“But also more generally, people who had their primary vaccination more than six months ago should receive a booster dose to enhance effectiveness.
“The MESAC recommendation is inline with prevailing advice from medical specialists in partner countries and the World Health Organization.”
Professor Sir Isi Kevau, the MESAC Deputy Chairman, at the University of Papua New New Guinea School of Medicine and Health Sciences, provided the formal advice to the National Control Centre.
Commissioner Manning said the MESAC advice is that the booster dose should ideally be of the same vaccine as the person originally received, but this can be changed for those who have received Astrazeneca or Sinopharm.
“This means a person who has been fully vaccinated with Astrazeneca or Sinopharm vaccine should receive a booster shot of Astrazeneca or Johnson & Johnson. While those who have had a Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine should receive a Johnson & Johnson booster shot. If in doubt, simply ask a medical professional.”
The Controller said that there is no change to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, and receiving the vaccine remains entirely voluntary.
“People will continue to exercise freedom of choice in terms of if they wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and to which type of vaccine they wish to receive.
This is the principle that the Prime Minister has declared from the start and there is no change.”
“It is simply advisable that the best way to survive COVID-19 is to be vaccinated.”
“As has been proven in countries around the world, receiving the vaccine is the best way to prevent serious infection and death from COVID-19 and this remains a matter of personal choice.”
“Everyone who is entitled to receive a booster vaccine is able to receive this from any medical facility where vaccines are being made available.”