Papua New Guinea needs at least 70 percent vaccination coverage to protect its citizens against the deadly Delta variant virus that is rapidly sweeping across countries in the world.
Currently, the deadly variant has spread to at least 98 countries with low vaccinated coverage. It has spread through Europe, parts of Asia, South and Central America and also Africa.
It has made its way to neighboring countries including Australia, Indonesia and Fiji thus prompting PNG to tighten up all entry points among other measures to protect its citizens.
Deputy Controller of the National Pandemic Response, Dr Daoni Esorom says PNG needs to vaccinate at least 70% of its population who are above 18 years old to protect its citizens.
Dr. Daoni says 70% immunization coverage will enable PNG to number:
- Slow the pandemic
- Save and protect lives
- Drive an economic recovery
- Prevent further dangerous variant from spreading.
Dr. Daoni said unvaccinated people are a risk to themselves and also a risk to the others if they become infected with COVID-19 and more so with the Delta variant.
“Infected people become the only source of new COVID-19 variants because they will harbor the virus and spread them among the population,” warned Dr. Daoni.
“Unvaccinated people have the potential to spread the delta variants if they become infected and become variant factories in the country,” warned Dr. Daoni.
“Unvaccinated people present greater opportunities for the virus to multiply and spread among the population. People who have not been compliant to the Niupla Pasin strategies and measures put in place since the beginning of the outbreak, there is a higher risk that delta variant when it enters PNG, it will mutate and it could throw off a variant mutation that maybe more serious in future,” warned Dr. Daoni.
Dr. Daoni says the Delta variant is 50 to 70 percent more transmittable than the Alpha variant and is the fastest and the fittest variant that threatens PNG as this particular variant is already present in our neighboring countries.
Dr. Daoni says to prevent PNG from this fast becoming dominant variant, certain steps are being taken and this includes:
- Complying to amended measures put out by the controller
- The need to quarantine people coming into PNG for longer period of time at least 21 days and to test them at days 1, 7, 14 and 21 and increasing testing in the health facilities and the general population to enable the detection of such variants
- All incoming people to PNG must be quarantine in hotels so that is will make it easier to isolate them in hotels so that health interventions like testing and isolation can be applied.
- Increase COVID-19 vaccination as our vaccination rate is 0.5% then the targeted projections.
- Inform the people of the benefits of vaccinations and address misinformation spread by people with vested interest as they are putting our people at risk.
“We need to be pro-active then to be re-active as the variants are even closer to us detected in neighboring countries. So I encourage everybody to adhere to the measures, read the measures properly and follow instructions and as they are the only way that we can protect ourselves,” said Dr. Daoni.