26 Jan 2021

Australia announces major vaccination rollout support for PNG

6:13 pm on 26 January 2021

Australia's government has announced it will provide US$111-million for Covid-19 vaccination in Papua New Guinea over three years.

The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby said the funding is in addition to Australia's ongoing development assistance to PNG.

In a statement, it said Australia will help PNG procure vaccines that have met internationally accepted standards of safety and efficacy.

Empty vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 disease vaccine are displayed at the regional corona vaccination centre in Ludwigsburg, southern Germany, on January 22, 2021.

Photo: AFP

As well, technical assistance is to be provided to support PNG's decisions on vaccination rollout and assessments of vaccine safety and quality and help build capacity for the health workforce.

Australian High Commissioner to PNG Jon Philp said vaccination promised to be a "gamechanger" for the region.

"Achieving high levels of immunisation is essential for recovering from the health and economic impacts of this devastating global pandemic," he said.

"A timely, safe and effective vaccine rollout will pave the way for re-establishing travel, tourism and trade. It will allow more families and friends to reunite and help bring back international training, employment, sporting and cultural exchange opportunities."

According to the High Commission, the funding is part of an initiative worth US$111-million, announced last October, to support governments in the Asia/Pacific to plan for effective vaccination roll-outs.