As vaccine demand continues to outstrip supply and distribution remains uneven across the WHO Western Pacific Region, in a show of solidarity, the Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has donated 30,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Viet Nam.
Viet Nam is currently battling a complicated COVID-19 outbreak, in particular in Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces, with aggressive vaccination targets a critical part of the Vietnamese Government’s strategy to contain the outbreak and relieve pressure on local health systems.
Through ongoing sharing of information by governments across the WHO Western Pacific Region, the Vietnamese Government was made aware of the doses in PNG due to expire at the end of September, and made the request to the PNG Government.
PNG Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Hon. Jelta Wong said PNG was very happy to agree to the request and that the National Department of Health responded quickly, working with partners to facilitate sending the vaccines to Viet Nam.
“We know we are all in this together, as this virus is affecting every country and every community. Countries acting in solidarity and supporting each other in times of need is the best thing we can do and also the right thing to do.”
The vaccines are have arrived in Ho Chi Minh City and has been administered as quickly as possible, as part of expedited vaccine deployment in the southern provinces of Viet Nam.
Acting WHO Representative in PNG, Anna Maalsen, said the sharing highlighted the importance of regional solidarity and in ensuring that no vaccine was wasted.
“Situations in all countries are very different, including the scale of vaccine roll-outs, and we simply cannot afford to waste doses anywhere. This sharing by the PNG Government is a great example of how countries can and should help each other, especially in order to protect priority groups in high-risk settings”.
The vaccine sharing has been made possible thanks to assistance from the New Zealand Government, who originally donated the vaccines to PNG through the COVAX Facility, along with support from the COVAX Facility and other partners.
In Papua New Guinea, the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues, with an increase in mobile vaccination clinics targeting remote communities, and strong support from government partners, including Australia, New Zealand and the United States.