Vaccinations low in PNG: UN

Photo: WHO

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says there has been a decline in children’s immunisation in Papua New Guinea over the last two years.

UNICEF PNG representative Dr Claudes Kamenga reported this during the launch of the 2023 MR-OPV-Vitamin A supplementary immunisation activity campaign yesterday in Port Moresby.

“PNG, among many other countries, reported a decline in vaccination coverage in the last two years.”

“About 280,000 children have not received one single dose of Pentavalent vaccine,” Kamenga said.

He reported on UNICEF’s 2023 flagship report on child immunisation released two weeks ago.

“Immunisation coverage is only about 40 percent in PNG, despite the effort made by the government and its partners,” he said.

Kamenga said children who had not received immunisation (zero dose children) are exposed to high risks of vaccine preventable diseases.

“Immunisation is a priority for Unicef, and it is one of our primary areas of support to the government’s effort in health,” Kamenga said.

Unicef urged the government to continue prioritising immunisation by setting commitments and ambitious targets that will improve the overall immunisation coverage.

“Vaccination is not just about protecting children from diseases,” Kamenga said. “It is also about securing a healthy future for citizens who will contribute meaningfully to the development and the economy of this country,” he said.