Marc Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), has commented on efforts by the Australian Government to seek the release of 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the European Commission for Papua New Guinea (PNG).
“Epidemiologists are estimating an explosion of COVID-19 across PNG, with the potential to reach 1 million cases within weeks. We must act urgently for our nearest neighbour and Australian health security.
“We need more vaccines in PNG today and Australian support for their rollout.
“As a low-middle income country, the European Commission has rightly exempted PNG from its export controls on COVID-19 vaccines.
“As the world’s leading humanitarian donor and with a proud track record in the region, they must now release the 1 million doses that has been requested and give PNG their support.
“The Australian Government cannot wait either and should be working on an alternative plan. If the Commission delays beyond this week, that alternative plan needs to kick-in.
“The Prime Minister must line-up 1 million doses for PNG from Australian domestic production and work intensively with the PNG Government and international development agencies to increase the pace of vaccinations on the ground.”