| Duresi’s Odyssey | Edited
AUCKLAND - Last week I saw much social media commentary by fellow Papua New Guineans following a newspaper article on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to PNG and other countries by GAVI.
GAVI is an international organisation that was established to improve access to vaccines for countries like PNG that are considered to be low income.
I noted with interest that many people wanted to ban the GAVI program. Others were suspicious of why no developed countries were named in the news article. Some people even suggested ‘black nations’ were being targeted as part of an experiment.
I was tempted to reply to the commentaries but, based on my experience during the Covid-19 lockdown, thought that to do so would attract unnecessary personal attacks on me
So I write this blog post about how GAVI works, why the news article did not list developed nations as recipients of the GAVI vaccines and include suggestion of how we could improve the dissemination of Covid-19 information to the general public.
With the presence of Covid-19, GAVI is working to ensure the equal distribution of vaccines to poorer countries. Hence, the newspaper article list the names of those countries, including PNG.
For people who are not aware, Covid-19 vaccines are already rolling out in developed nations.
People claiming that only developing nations are being targeted are misinforming and potentially misleading our people.
Countries such as United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, France, China and the United Arab Emirates have already started huge Covid-19 vaccination programs and there is a huge backlog of orders for developed and developing nations alike.
Pharmaceutical companies are working overtime to try to meet the demand.
The development of vaccines, like any other drug development, must meet stringent regulatory requirements before given approval for use.
The current Covid-19 vaccines have had to meet these requirements, including clinical testing.
To use the example of New Zealand, which is currently procuring Covid19 vaccines, it has put on its Medsafe website important, easy-to-understand information for the general public on how the vaccines will be rolled out.
Included in that information is the process of how the vaccines are vetted by the medicines regulator (Medsafe) and information on clinical trials.
I think the PNG health department could take a leaf out of Medsafe’s book and ensure that each news article about Covid-19 (including vaccinations) should include a link to the health department’s website for our people to read and understand.
I totally understand how people feel uneasy about patient safety and the Covid-19 vaccination process if they do not fully understand the many safeguards taken to ensure risks are minimised.
So keep safe and do the important things needed to reduce your risk of catching Covid-19.
Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion and does not represent that of any organization I am associated with.