Monday, November 29

Covid-19: Why Most Papua New Guineans Dread Vaccines (And What The End Of The World Has To Do With It)

  • Fraser Macdonald
  • The Conversation*

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape receives covid-19 vaccine, March 2021

Image source, Getty Images


Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape receives the covid-19 vaccine in a campaign to curb the rampant spread of coronavirus in that Pacific country

Only 1.7% of the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea have been vaccinated with the complete schedule against covid-19. This is of concern to the international community, which sees the virus spread through a highly exposed population with high rates of comorbidity and very low levels of access to medical care.

The mood in the country, however, is very different. There is no doubt that there is a lot of fear, yes. But the cause is the vaccine itself.

Many Papua New Guineans could be vaccinated, even in the most remote corners of the country. We are talking about people who are not at all strangers to injected drugs or vaccines, which are administered there against diseases such as polio and measles.

But millions of Papuans are not getting vaccinated against covid-19 because they are terrified of this particular vaccine. It is not about vaccine reluctance, but about a frontal opposition. Of a radical antipathy.

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