Experts warn that countries with a vaccination rate of less than 5% are creating opportunities for the spread and mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the risk of more dangerous mutations cannot be ruled out.
Adrian Prouse, Head of International Humanitarian Programs at the Australian Red Cross, warned: “I am worried that Papua New Guinea will be the next place where new bacterial strains will appear.
“In Papua New Guinea, less than 5% of adults are vaccinated against Covid-19,” he argues. In Indonesia, this number is less than one-third. Both countries close to Australia have encountered obstacles. In the vaccination plan”.
Stefanie Vaccher, an epidemiologist at the Burnett Institute, has the same concerns. “Communities with low vaccination rates have a greater chance of virus transmission and mutation. In Papua New Guinea, less than 4% of the vaccinated population has a greater chance of virus transmission and mutation. Very large mutations,” said. Expert Walker.
Experts warn that the Australian government and people should pay attention to the COVID-19 situation in Papua New Guinea, not just because of how it will affect Australia.
“In my opinion, it doesn’t matter which country the mutation occurred in. The problem is that countries have a responsibility to think globally about how the Covid-19 pandemic shows this connection. What’s important is that it not only brings potential to the people of the country . Risk, it also brings potential risks to the people of the country,” she emphasized.
So far, Papua New Guinea has only recorded nearly 36,000 Covid-19 cases and nearly 600 deaths, but experts worry that due to limited testing capabilities, the actual number may be much larger. He also said that the “hidden illness” was because of fear of being stigmatized. The Guardian quoted sources as saying that many people here ask doctors not to write Covid-19 on death certificates when their loved ones die of the disease.
Ms. Vaccher said that a study conducted in Papua New Guinea around March this year showed that 24% of medical staff at Port Moresby Hospital had Covid-19 antibodies. This shows that Covid-19 has been spreading silently and undetected in Papua New Guinea. Even so, Covid-19 is still putting pressure on Papua New Guinea’s already poor health system.
“Papua New Guinea is currently responding to a wave of infections caused by the Delta gene mutation, which may cause the country’s recent rapid increase in hospitalization and mortality.” We have seen many hospitals. Papua New Guinea cut other medical services. What’s more worrying is that we are also seeing an increase in other diseases such as malaria…” Prussia said.
He said that although Papua New Guinea’s vaccine supply is still sufficient, the government has difficulties in persuading people to get vaccinated, as well as problems related to vaccine storage infrastructure. .
The above warning is made in the context of global attention to the emergence of Omicron gene mutations. This strain was first discovered in Africa, where vaccine coverage is very low, and it has been determined to have an abnormally high number of mutations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron is more contagious than Delta and can reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine, but only causes mild symptoms. However, WHO emphasizes that more data is still needed to assess the virulence of this variant.