Rugby League legend Mal Meninga has thrown his support behind PNG’s COVID vaccine rollout as the second shipment of Australian donated COVID vaccines landed in Papua New Guinea
Ten thousand doses are being delivered by commercial flight to Port Moresby last weekend marking a new phase in PNG’s vaccine delivery program.
The vaccines will be administered to priority groups in line with PNG’s national vaccine deployment plan.
This consignment of 10,000 followed the 8,480 doses Australia provided in March to kickstart PNG’s vaccine program. Australia has allocated over a million doses to its neighbours – including PNG – as it delivers on a commitment to bolster PNG’s public health response to COVID-19.
Future deliveries will be distributed all over PNG to support the national rollout.
These doses have been supplied at no cost to the PNG Government, and are free for all PNG citizens.
The AstraZeneca doses are manufactured in Melbourne by CSL – an Australian pharmaceutical company.
They are the same vaccines being rolled out in Australia. As of 12 May 2021, approximately 1.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had been administered in Australia.
Australia is also proudly supporting PNG’s Sleeves Up campaign, which is already working to tackle vaccine hesitancy by providing clear, accurate and objective data about the benefits of vaccination.
Vaccine hesitancy is a major issue around the world, including in Australia, and concerted efforts to provide accurate and relevant information are essential to help people make good choices for their own health and that of their families and communities.
Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Zed Seselja, says getting vaccinated is important for individuals, communities and the entire country as well.
“Some young people think COVID’s not really going to affect them that much, but it’s about the community. Getting vaccinated makes a difference not just to individuals, but to the whole village, the whole community and to the country.”
Former PNG national team coach and Australian NRL legend Mal Meninga compares it to preparing for a match. The whole team needs to be ready, not just a few individuals, and the teamwork approach is important to tackling this huge community problem.
“It’s a very important message to do the right thing by your families, by their villages and by their country. We plead with all the leaders, all the front-liners, the essential services, to lead by example and get vaccinated,” Meninga said.
Another major focus for Australia is tackling misinformation, as conspiracy theories, rumours and other unscientific material can spread online and through community networks in the absence of trusted official information.
It’s important that people know what to expect when they receive a vaccination, including the normal side effects and potential risks, so we can break down stigma and provide people with clear and relevant information.
Minister Seselja agrees. “Sometimes there’s misinformation around the vaccines. I think it’s important to follow the science and the medical evidence.
I’ve been vaccinated. It’s a pretty important thing to do.”