THERE are currently three COVID-19 vaccines that have been gazetted to be used in the country – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinopharm, a Chinese vaccine.
A total of 200, 000 doses of the latter, donated by the Chinese Government arrived on Wednesday last week on an Air Niugini Plane. Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Reinbo Paita, Chinese Ambassador to PNG Zeng Fanhua and staff as well as the Deputy Controller of the National Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom were at the airport to receive the donation.
Both Mr Fanhua and Mr Paita signed and exchanged notes at the Jackson’s Airport VIP APEC terminal to document the arrival of the vaccines. Mr Paita thanked the people and the government of the People’s Republic of China for their generosity, saying the conversation on these vaccines occurred sometime in February this year, but it took awhile before the vaccines arrived.
He said the vaccines would be handed over to the National Department of Health to roll out. Mr Fanhua said PNG has helped China in its fight against COVID-19 in the early days and this donation is part of its reciprocating that help.
He also said the vaccine, Sinopharm, is safe and China will be cooperating with PNG to ensure it is rolled out to help protect its people against COVID-19. The full name of Sinopharm vaccine is Inactivated COVID-19 vaccine (vero cell) and it has been officially listed by the World Health Organisation for emergency use on 7th May.
Since early June, more than 350 million doses of the vaccine has been sent out to the international community including vaccine help to more than 80 developing countries. In the Pacific region, Solomon Islands and Vanuata have begun to roll out this vaccine.
Dr Daoni says there are currently three COVID-19 vaccines gazetted to be used in the country which are AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Sinopharm. “All vaccines approved by WHO are of high quality. The vaccine that is currently being rolled out is the 132,000 doses of the AstraZeneca, of which 80,000 are in the provinces,’’ said Dr Daoni.
“Vaccine is the end game. There is no other way to end this pandemic.’’
Dr Daoni also said that 20,000 of the 200,000 doses will be going to the Chinese nationals, while the rest is a donation to PNG.
(Health Promotion NDOH)