This photo by Joel Hamari from ‘The National’ newspaper confirms what I saw on 17 May 2021 at Rita Flyn:
That foreigners dominated Rita Flynn, where vaccines are administered, to get vaccinated!
The sad thing is, I wasn’t surprised when I saw many foreigners lining up for the vaccines at Rita Flynn – vaccines that were sent for Papua New Guineans. Viscous misinformation campaign has dominated WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups in PNG since vaccines were announced. I’ve witnessed unprecedented level of conspiracy in PNG against vaccines. Unprecedented in terms of number of people sharing content that discredits vaccines, as well as the number of educated professionals who are critical of vaccines.
ABC International Development and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme reported that 62% of Facebook posts about Covid-19 vaccines in the Pacific region make unsubstantiated claims about vaccines, with popular falsehoods including that vaccines have been manufactured to track personal data, are counter to the foundations of the Christian faith, and impact fertility, circulated widely across the region.
PNG is a country of about 8-9 million people, so the 132, 000 AstraZeneca donated to PNG via CONVAX will hardly put a dent in PNG’s response to COVID-19 in PNG. Every dose should be going to Papua New Guineans who, unlike the foreigners in PNG, have limited access to quality heath facilities except government run facilities which are mostly run down and struggling to keep up with demands from the populace.
When the vaccines arrived, preference was given to the front line workers, starting with health workers, and later on vaccines were offered to the public. I was part of the UPNG staff who were asked to get vaccinated. It was voluntary. Less than half of the staff went to Rita Flyn where the vaccines are administered. I’m not sure whether it was vaccine hesitancy or the email (toksave) was sent out late, which resulted in low turn out. Perhaps both.
At Rita Flyn, I saw Europeans, Indians, Asians and Papua New Guineans. I didn’t keep a tally, but for the two or three hours I was there, I saw many foreigners lining up. At one time, the chairs before me were dominate by foreigners.
It’s a concern that less PNGeans are showing up for the vaccines. It’s open for the public, after the front liners were vaccinated. But it’s sad to see many Papua New Guineans hesitating to get vaccinated.
Vaccines are scarce, especially in PNG. And the little we have seems to be benefiting the the foreigners in PNG. Because Papua New Guineans are reading and watching too many conspiracy content.
Since we are trying to make PNG a Christian country, let me quote a scripture from the Bible, Hosea 4:6:
“My people perish because of a lack of knowledge…”
If people die in PNG from COVID-19, the reasons will be twofold: first, there is a break down in health system; but second, a lack of correct information or rejection of science.
Our front liners and PM and ministers and departmental heads and teachers and lecturers have been vaccinated. So if vaccines do kill people, PNG should be in disaster mode by now. By now you should have lost most, if not all, of your medical doctors and nurses, your PM and politicians, and departmental heads and teachers.
I got vaccinated. And out of curiosity I placed a coin on my arm where I was injected but the coin fell! There are videos circulating on WhatsApp groups showing coins getting stuck on the arm after vaccination. A friend of mine then explained that coins get stuck on smooth surfaces, so the upper arm where there’s less hair, coins will get stuck, especially if the arms are a bit sweaty (in the 37 degrees POM city, you’re sure to be sweating).
After vaccination I felt pains on the second day. The nurses explained that that would be the case. I was advised to drink panadol and get some rest so that’s what I did. It’s the third day and I’m feeling good.
So my people, got get vaccinated.