PNG secures first major shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from India

Papua New Guinea will obtain 132,000 doses of AstraZeneca PLC‘s COVID-19 vaccine from India subsequent week, the PNG authorities advised Reuters, even because the world’s greatest vaccine maker curbs exports.

The Pacific island nation is going through a disaster as its well being methods grapple with a steep rise in infections whereas additionally going through delays to its vaccination programme that depends on provides from the worldwide COVAX vaccine-sharing scheme.

PNG Health Minister Jelta Wong advised Reuters on Wednesday that the supply from India was scheduled to reach subsequent week. India stated final month that it put a brief maintain on COVID-19 vaccine exports to prioritise home provides as native infections rise.

The export curb deepened the issue going through 64 poorer international locations that depend on the World Health Organization vaccine-sharing programme.

Small international locations together with East Timor just lately obtained their first COVAX vaccine deliveries, though it was not instantly clear the place the doses have been manufactured.

Papua New Guinea, which has a sprawling inhabitants of roughly 9 million, has began a modest vaccination programme utilizing simply over 8,000 doses despatched by Australia.

It was resulting from obtain 588,000 AstraZeneca doses by COVAX by the tip of June earlier than export restrictions have been positioned on vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India amid a lethal second wave of native infections.

It is unclear how the schedule has been disrupted.

PNG’s COVID-19 management centre, UNICEF’s consultant within the island nation and the GAVI vaccine alliance didn’t instantly reply to requests in search of touch upon Wednesday.

Export provides of AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured in Europe have additionally been curbed because the continent struggles to vaccinate its personal populations.

PNG’s official COVID-19 demise toll stands at 67, based on an April 5 assertion, whereas there are greater than 7,400 infections. Australia has beforehand stated that tally vastly underestimates the extent of the disaster as PNG doesn’t do mass testing.

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres stated in March that PNG’s hospitals and clinics have been overwhelmed and lots of well being employees have been already contaminated.

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