Thursday 26 January 2022
The Deputy Controller of the National Control Centre, Dr Esorom Daoni has expressed concern over the low rate of vaccination coverage in country.
In his weekly NCC virtual press conference today (26 January), Dr Daoni said, “We are not improving. Over the last three weeks we have not gone past 12.3 percent.
Papua New Guinea’s vaccination target is to get around 1.8 million citizens vaccinated.
“Our primary focus now in 2022, is to increase the COVID-19 vaccination and to make sure we deliver Booster doses of vaccines to those who are eligible to get it.”
Commenting on the recent COVID-19 updates, Dr Daoni stressed that most of the surges in the country have resulted from major national events and over the Christmas gatherings.
“We are anticipating that between January and March we will see surges in COVID-19 cases.
“We are also anticipating that the surges will mostly be driven by Omicron variant, due to its easy transmissibility.”
Dr Daoni is confident the Delta variant will be overtaken by the Omicron variant and become a dominant variant soon, because of the behaviours of citizens.
“With low testing rate, low vaccination rate, people not conforming to the Covid protocols of wearing masks, physical distancing, we are confident the Omicron variant will become a dominant variant in the country very soon.
“Our dominant variant in PNG is still the Delta variant but over the next few months we are pretty confident and sure that the Delta variant will be overtaken by Omicron, as is happening in a lot of other countries.”
Dr Daoni however said the outcome for Omicron would be moderate to severe for vulnerable groups, including the frontline workers and essential workers who interact with people most of the time.
He further emphasised that wearing of masks, getting vaccinated and boosters are the best protection against Omicron and other variants.
As of 24 January, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has increased to 36,570 ; Deaths, 597, Delta cases 708, one case of Omicron, with 22 new reported cases, and 35,845 recovered cases.