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Covid-19: real, serious, agonising & here

Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines

| Sydney Morning Herald | Extracts

SYDNEY - Two of Australia’s top infectious disease and immunology experts say Papua New Guinea should take up the offer of Chinese-made vaccines if they are safe, as Europe threatens to withhold vaccine deliveries and PNG teeters on the edge of a Covid-19 disaster.

China has made repeated overtures to Papua New Guinea in recent months, offering to send vaccines to the country to “support each other’s core interests”.

China’s foreign ministry said it has supplied the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines to 69 countries including Cambodia, Serbia and Indonesia.

Urging Australia and the West to put politics aside for the sake of global health, Sydney University professor Robert Booy and ANU professor Peter Collignon said PNG should take whatever vaccines it could secure.

“The Chinese vaccines are becoming better understood and the information coming out suggests that they are safe and effective,” said Booy, the former head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunisation.

“Provided the confirmation of their safety by the WHO, their use in south-east Asia and the Pacific seems reasonable to me.”

Said Collignon, a committee adviser to the World Health Organisation: “If China has a good vaccine that is quality assured, it is silly not to allow that vaccine to be rolled out”.

The intervention from the two Australian experts comes after PNG doctors reported the hospital system was at breaking point, with wards overwhelmed by patients and scores of healthcare workers infected with the virus.

Miner Ok Tedi announced it was suspending its operations at its $1 billion mine on Thursday due to the outbreak to “protect its workforce, communities and operation”.

Australia’s former ambassador to PNG, Ian Kemish, said “it’s like a dam has been breached”.

“Health facilities are close to being overwhelmed in Port Moresby, medical staff are being struck down and 50% of one batch of PNG swabs tested in Brisbane last week were positive,” he said in comments first published by The Conversation on Thursday.

But the adjunct professor at the University of Queensland added that he still believed Australia was the only nation capable of aiding the distribution of vaccines to the broader population in Australia’s closest neighbour.

Booy said the ongoing outbreak in PNG posed a threat to Australia’s own coronavirus containment efforts.

“There is free traffic and trade across northern Australia and it is not very easily controlled,” he said.


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Philip Kai Morre

Poor beggars like PNG have no choice but to take whatever is given. There is nothing wrong for Chinese vaccines to enter PNG as long as it is approved by WHO.

We should know that China and the Middle East have accumulated knowledge of manufacturing medicines dating back to the ancient times around 5,000 years BC.

We cannot wait for long because people are dying and many are affected. We are in a crisis state and the red lights are glowing.

There is no known treatment for Covid or facilities in PNG right now.

Dr John Christie

It will be a very difficult and expensive logistical exercise to immunise the majority of the PNG population in a timely manner. The required health infrastructure and systems, in the main, are just not there. It is therefore essential that the vaccine used is approved by WHO and has known effectiveness and safety. To do otherwise may result in not only a huge waste of money but also the continuation of the PNG epidemic with the spectre of mutated strains of the virus appearing. In addition the loss of confidence by the PNG population in any vaccine could eventuate. I note that in the lead article above the authors stress "safe and effective" and "quality assured" of vaccines before use. Puripuri and/or sanguma gives desperate people a belief to help them when there is nothing else. PNG citizens should not have to resort to magic as a first line of defence to protect against COVID-19.

AG Satori

We are doing every known puripuri and mixing all known herbal concoctions to ward off Covid19. The main ingredient - ginger - is becoming scarce.

Stop the dithering.

Get PNG the vaccines - Chinese, European, Russian or from heaven or hell. So long as it puts our minds at rest.

We can worry after about the effectiveness and the side effects when we get there.

The cities and towns hold 90% of our educated working population. They are the most densely populated group especially in the settlements where social distancing is impossible and sanitation blues tower like mountains.

They also do not have enough of the puripuri leaves and herbs and ginger plants if ever any vaccines get locked up in a shipping container somewhere.

The World Health Organisation states that there is no scientific evidence that black pepper, honey or ginger protect from Covid-19 infection - KJ

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