October 15, 2021 - 266 views

The government is being urged to restrategize on how it intends to increase COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country. 

This is so the country can reach a level where the population of the country is protected against the virus in the near future. 

A research paper released by the PNG National Research Institute – PNG NRI – describes this level as a ‘herd immunity’. 

The recommendation is based on the grim results from a study - PNG NRI Spotlight Volume 14, Issue 15 entitled: Why some of Papua New Guinea’s urban residents are reluctant to take COVID-19 vaccine? Strategy to increase vaccination rates. 

The study was carried out in Goroka, Kokopo, Lae and Mt. Hagen on whether the residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and why most of them have not got the jab. 

The study reveals: “Of all the urban centres studied, only a few residents have been vaccinated (12.7%), Lae had the highest vaccination rate (18.1%) and Kokopo lowest (8.5%),” 

The research, conducted by PNG NRI’s Deputy Director for Research Associate Professor Eugene Ezebilo found that poor awareness about the vaccine, inadequate vaccination centres, shortages of vaccine and misinformation on social media is making people reluctant to take the vaccine. 

He states that vaccination rates would increase if proper awareness on the side effects of the vaccines are conducted; more vaccination centres are provided; and, vaccines are supplied in a timely manner. 

“COVID-19 vaccine has been developed to protect people against the virus,” Prof. Ezebilo stated, adding that by reaching a high level of vaccination rate, most of the restrictions imposed maybe relaxed. 

One of the numerous feedbacks from the respondents highlighted in the report stated that: “Information on how COVID-19 vaccine works and its side effects have not been provided. I want to understand the side effects of the vaccine before getting the vaccine.” 

The findings from this paper will assist public health planners and managers in making informed decisions in developing an effective communication strategy, providing vaccination centres and supply of vaccine to areas where they are needed. 

 This paper will also serve as a source of information for the general public.


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