News Coronavirus One million COVID shots sent to Pacific region

One million COVID shots sent to Pacific region

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Australia has sent a million COVID doses to Pacific nations – with the goal of sending 15 million. Photo: Twitter
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Australia wants to help tackle vaccine hesitancy in Papua New Guinea after exporting one million doses to the Pacific region.

The Morrison government previously promised 15 million jabs for East Timor and Pacific countries by the middle of 2022.

Vaccine exports to the region hit one million on Thursday, International Development Minister Zed Seselja has told an Australian National University forum.

“We have, from the start, said that we will do a lot more than just doses,” he said, listing off testing equipment, protective equipment and medical professionals.

Australia was also working with churches, sporting groups and other organisations to overcome vaccine hesitancy, particularly in PNG.

“Supply is not the issue [in PNG] at the moment. Issues around logistics, remoteness, issues around hesitancy are quite significant,” the minister said.

The Morrison government has also faced vaccine hesitancy at home, with only about 17 per cent of Australians over the age of 16 fully vaccinated.

PNG has recorded 17,670 COVID-19 cases so far in 2021, World Health Organisation data shows.

It points to 192 confirmed deaths and 88,343 vaccines administered.