Papua New Guinea Prime Minister slams misinformation on Covid-19 Vaccination

 Papua New Guinea PRIME Minister James Marape says misinformation as well as cultural and religious sensitivities is causing people to be hesitant about Covid-19 vaccination.

He said while vaccination was voluntary, he pointed out that

the current world trend was acceptance of the Covid-19 inoculation as the new way of living and travelling.

Marape was among 20 leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) that met virtually on Friday to discuss, among other things, the Covid-19 pandemic, health and economic crisis and response.

The United States, Russia, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea met through their various government heads in a virtual meeting organised and chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Among them were leaders from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) who provided a report and some advice on response.

Marape revealed a dismal figure of 0.05 per cent of the 10 million population to have already vaccinated against most Apec countries who are seeing better success in inoculating their various populations.

“Religious sensitivity, cultural sensitivity and fake news on social media has made our people hesitate to get vaccinated,” he said.

Marape informed his Apec counterparts that PNG’s vaccination was still “voluntary” but as borders open and travel requirements demand vaccination, Papua New Guineans would have to get vaccinated if they wanted to travel and do business. He said at Apec Informal Leaders Retreat in Port Moresby on Friday.

The supply of and the immediate access to the vaccines was the

central theme during the talks at the retreat as a number of Apec countries voiced big challenges in their respective population’s continuing reluctance to be inoculated.

The reports given by the leaders showed that the more developed countries of Apec were having better success at vaccinating their people than developing countries whose population refuse to receive the immunisation.

The Apec Informal Leaders Retreat began with the IMF and WHO reports and a short question-answer session, and ended with a more formal presentation from each of the 20 leaders including Marape who spoke on behalf of the South Pacific countries.

The leaders then released a joint statement pledging renewed collaborative efforts as Apec countries and the world experiences a second, more deadly wave of the pandemic through the Delta strain of the virus.

“The pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on our region’s people and economies.

“Our efforts to diagnose and treat the Covid-19 continue to be essential. But we will only overcome this health emergency by accelerating equitable access to safe, effective, quality assured and affordable Covid-19 vaccines,” the statement read.

“We recognise the role of extensive immunisation against the pandemic as a global good.

“To that end, we will redouble our efforts to expand vaccine

manufacture and production technologies on mutually agreed


“We must ensure our health systems cover all people efforts as well as the contribution of additional resources across Apec to combat the pandemic.”


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