Just across the Torres Strait, a COVID crisis is brewing. “Fears of ‘catastrophe’ are rising as COVID-19 cases hit Papua New Guinea’s stretched health system,” the ABC has reported. And a Guardian story says “Papua New Guinea is battling to control a surge in coronavirus cases across the archipelago, just as hospitals are shutting their doors because they have run out of money.”
The Australian Government is responding but the 8,000 doses on the way is tiny. Reportedly, our government “is asking AstraZeneca and European authorities to divert another one million doses to the country”.
PNG has a population of 8.776 million, mostly in villages far away from modern communications.
I am over 65, diabetic and when I checked the Federal Government vaccine roll out, I am due to be in “1b” – the next tranche. Jabs for 1b, including for people over 70 and First Nations people over 55 (among other groups), begins Monday. There’s a handy form for you to check when you stand in the queue.
Australians have every reason to be grateful for the work of the federal and state governments and all our health workers for the great COVID result in this country. We have done well. By and large, people have been patient.
So I am willing to wait. If the Government can divert more vaccines to PNG, we should all be willing to wait. The front line workers, and the nursing home vulnerable and , are in our first group. The over 70 and Indigenous Australians over 55 are in the second group. Please proceed.
But just maybe, many of the rest of us should be willing to wait.