Vaccination continues to be controversial in Papua New Guinea as misinformation is still rampant.
A recent poll by a local daily paper revealed that many people want the authorities to promote more awareness of Covid-19 vaccines.
Recently a local church condemned employers for setting vaccination as a condition for employment despite the Government’s stand that vaccination is voluntary.
“We must be informed by health authorities if the vaccine components have the potential to induce any damage or injury to the human body,” Reverend Joseph Walters from the Tabernacle of Prayer Church in Port Moresby said.
It appears that people are caught between misinformation, the belief in God’s protection and the lack of proper awareness.
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In June, the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches declared its support for the Covid-19 vaccination.
“We affirm our support for the Covid-19 vaccination and declare our trust in the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccination as a lifesaving tool which protects human from severe sickness and death due to the Covid-19,” the council said.
But this isn’t convincing enough as many believe the Government isn’t doing enough to educate people about the safety and importance of getting vaccinated.
For the Roman Catholic Church, which has the largest following in the country, PNG’s prelate to the church Cardinal Sir John Ribat has urged people to listen to the health authorities and get vaccinated.
“The vaccine is a help to boost the immune system in the body, so let us unite with our international community to try stop the spread of this virus,” Cardinal Sir John said in April.
The ongoing calls by the Health Department and Prime Minister James Marape for people to get vaccinated seem to be falling on deaf ears.
Challenges in carrying out a successful vaccination campaign points to the lack of proper awareness.
The Pacific Advocate’s questions to Health Minister Jelta Wong regarding awareness and educating the public on vaccines went unanswered.