You will not colonise my children’s names
Covid-19 Self Isolation

Siba–Kramer Covid debate continues

Prof Peter Siba and Bryan Kramer MP
Prof Peter Siba and  Justice Minister Bryan Kramer  - is their disagreement about vaccine safety or just a wounded ego?

| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - Last week Professor Peter Siba challenged Dr Glen Mola and me to a public debate on the use of Covid-19 vaccines in Papua New Guinea.

Professor Siba is a virologist, former member of the Institute of Medical Research and current director of Divine Word University’s Madang-based Centre for Health Research and Diagnostics.

The challenge was in response to my article explaining that his claims on social media (accusing members of the Health Department’s Scientific Advisory Committee of being traitors, and the government using the vaccine for monetary gain and not for humanity) were baseless and made without any evidence to support them.

Professor Siba responded:

“Love you PNG… let’s all put aside our ego and pride and humble ourselves… especially my good MP for Madang Hon Bryan Kramer and my brother Prof Glen Mola. ‘CV 19 is our enemy’, so what’s all these personal attacks on me for.

“I have spoken my mind as Peter Siba and do not represent my current employer nor my former employer. Do not think by personally attacking me will change my decision. I am prepared to take you for public debate out in an open forum on this vaccine if you continue to slander my name and reputation.”

Professor Siba went on to state, “No Google, No Wikipedia, No Aid, just pure science and ethics.”

Where the professor and I agree is that Covid-19 is real and the use of vaccines is a positive thing.

But he had earlier stated:

“My good Minister, I had a look at the recent post on the Cv19 vaccine. I admire [your] investigative traits. I just want to let you know the issue here is not about the COVID Vaccines. There are many good vaccines being trialled out and manufactured now. My concern is specifically this AstraZeneca brand which is to be introduced in PNG.”

Where our views differ is whether the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use in PNG. I also object to his claim branding the members of scientific advisory group as traitors, and his claim that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in PNG is for money and not to save lives.

So when I politely asked him if he had any actual evidence to support his claims, he said no. My question was far from a personal attack.

I am happy to engage in an open debate with Professor Siba, however the subject matter will be what evidence he has to substantiate his claims.

Given he has already admitted he does not have any, I expect the debate to be very short.

I am also interested to hear Professor Siba’s expert scientific opinion on why the AstraZeneca vaccine is not safe to use in PNG and to see what evidence, if any, he will be offering.

I believe the real reason behind Professor Siba’s outburst on Facebook is less to do with whether the vaccine is safe, and more about him being upset for being left out and perhaps wanting to get paid for his involvement.

I say this based on his own words:

“The current scientist advisory group in PNG needs to be changed because it is not advising our Government well. I have always been available to help Government on this CV19 but no one wants to involve myself and other learned PNGeans residing outside out of Pom.

“Minister I was just pondering over the idea of the Government to replace most of the current Scientific Expert advisory Committee on CV19 – Just a suggestion – I don’t know who is on the committee.”

Professor Siba is an academic and health researcher who says he is an expert in his field with over 30 years of experience.

Yet he wants the government to sack most of the members of the current scientist expert advisory committee, accusing them of providing bad advice, but doesn’t even know who is on the committee.

Professor Siba, while I note you wish to debate ethics, is it not unethical to call for the sacking of your fellow colleagues and offering yourself in their replace without even knowing who they are?


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Philip Kai Morre

Professor Peter Siba is right to provide advice basing on medical evidence on the side effects of AstraZeneca.

FDA has yet to approve AstraZeneca. FDA is the USA regulator that approves vaccines for medical use. Approvals are given by sovereign nations and vary in different countries.

In a crisis a vaccine is required urgently to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Doctors are trained to care for the patient and not to harm a human person or take somebody else's life away.

This is where medical ethics is required and an ethical board has to be prudent and wise to make decisions based on scientific or medical evidence that such vaccine has pharmaceutical values.

There are fundamental ethics, norms and standards required to provide opinions, recommendations or to take precautions.

Normative ethics applies to specific but conflicting issues like the Covid-19 vaccine recently created. We are still in doubt weather AstraZeneca is safe for human treatment or not because we haven't experience any accumulated knowledge as yet using the vaccine.

Despite approval to use the AstraZeneca vaccine, we are prone to build negative thoughts because we haven't experienced it yet.

AstraZeneca has not been independently subject to scientific analysis in PNG but it has been in many other countries including the UK and Australia, which have found it safe. Unfortunately it has been subject to other speculation surrounding its relatively poor effectiveness compared with other vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna. But if AstraZeneca is the only vaccine available, it is much, much better than having no vaccine at all - KJ

Gabriel Ramoi

Fact. Astra Veneca is still not approved for use by the FDA in America.

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