By Rebecca Kuku in Port Moresby
The Papua New Guinea government will not allow the use in the country of any vaccine to treat the covid-19 coronavirus which has not been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an official says.
National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning issued a new order this week requiring that no covid-19 vaccination or unapproved pharmaceutical intervention should be provided to anybody in the country.
“The new measure also states that no vaccine testing or trials for the covid-19 shall occur in PNG,” he said.
The order came into effect Thursday.
It was in response to news reports that 48 Chinese employees of a PNG-based company had been vaccinated with the SARS-COV-2 vaccine on August 10.
[Asia Pacific Reports that Asia Times named the company as the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) – which controls a major nickel mine in the country, Ramu NiCo. RNZ Pacific also reports on the “vaccine diplomacy” stir caused by the Chinese company’s action.]
Manning said they would investigate the report and whether the 48 people mentioned had been vaccinated in China before arriving.
WHO does not recognise vaccine
He said WHO did not recognise the vaccine and anyone using the vaccine would be penalised under the legislation.
He also said the Covid-19 National Control Centre would investigate the mining company in PNG.
Manning said a flight from China carrying employees of a Chinese mining company in PNG had to be cancelled because of the vaccination allegations.
He said because of the lack of information on the issue, flights from China would be stopped “in the best interest of the people as authorities investigate the allegations of vaccinations”.
Meanwhile, National Control Centre Incident Manager Dr Esorom Doani said they were working on a standard operating procedure for children who tested positive.
There are three cases.
A 10-year-old boy was confirmed with covid-19 on April 16 and a two-year-old was confirmed on August 7 both in Western.
The third was a two-year-old case tested at the Port Moresby General Hospital after the child was brought in with respiratory problems on Aug 12.
Test results positive
“The test results came back positive. But the mother did not leave any address details. So a doctor from the Port Moresby General Hospital took it upon himself to find them.
“He managed to find them at Korobosea. The mother and child will be brought in tomorrow [Friday]. The mother will also be swabbed before they are taken to the Rita Flynn Isolation Centre.
“We will also start contact tracing for the two-year-old’s family tomorrow [Friday],” he said.
The country’s covid-19 cases now stand at 361 – 198 of them are recovered cases and 163 are active.
The cases are from 11 provinces out of the 21 provinces, including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
Reports from The National newspaper are republished by the Pacific Media Centre with permission.