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Namah Calls on PM Marape to Suspend COVID-19 Vaccines Rollout in PNG

Papua New Guinea  OPPOSITION Leader Belden Norman Namah has called on Prime Minister James Marape to immediately suspend rollout of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines until all questions surrounding potential serious side effects are fully resolved.

Mr. Namah said if he wants to continue rollout the AstraZeneca vaccines for COVID-19 then PM Marape and Ministers must be first in the line.

The Opposition Leader made the call in a statement this afternoon following reports of almost all countries of Europe halting the rollout of this particular vaccine on initial reports of side effects.

Namah said most European countries, except England which produced this vaccine, have halted vaccinations on early reports of blood clotting.

"If Prime Minister James Marape insisted on the rollout, him and his front bench cabinet ministers and their families must get vaccinated first," Mr. Namah said.

The Opposition  leader said the Government was exposing citizens to potential serious harm and offering them up as laboratory rats or guinea pigs for further testing of the vaccine.

He warned of a far more serious health crisis if the AstraZeneca vaccine causes serious side effects because of the country's very weak and illequipped health system.

"Doctors and vaccine experts around the world are sounding warnings that the vaccinations may lead to more harm than good and we need to listen to these cautions very carefully," Mr Namah said.

"Unless Prime Minister James Marape has independent scientific verification that these vaccines are 100 percent safe, he cannot risk our citizens.

The numbers of our dead are not sufficient or significant to press the panic button."

Namah said there maybe underlying reasons for the apparent natural resistance to the Coronavirus so far by Papua New Guineans.

"The government must establish our people's resistance to the virus instead of blaming it on there being not enough testing.

If there is not enough testing as claimed by the executive government and its WHO advisors, our people should be dropping dead under trees and at market places," he said.

Namah said this is not happening. In fact, apart from the media hype and the daily number crunching of those tested, the national health situation is exactly the same as before the pandemic. If anything there is more health awareness now which is the most positive outcome of the pandemic scare.

"If the Prime Minister insists on this rollout then it is only right that Mr Marape and his front bench ministers and their families must under-go COVID-19 vaccination before any other Papua New Guinean is required to do so."

"The leadership should not expose the people to a new experiment which full benefits and side effects are unknown fully on a global scale at present.

Prime Minister James Marape, Health Minister Jelta Wong, Justice Minister Bryan Kramer, Covid-19 Emergency Controller David Manning and all their family members must undergo the vaccination and do publicly so we are convinced that the leadership has total faith in what it has prescribed and has now acquired for Papua New Guinea."

Namah said until then the Nation should wait and see what benefits and or side effects it has on them.

"The government also has a duty to the people to give full details of the Covid-19 vaccine, about to be rolled-out in Papua New Guinea."

Mr Namah said the government has mishandled the emergency right from the start and has been operating in secrecy, hiding behind the Covid-19 Pandemic Act.

"The Prime Minister must now publish full details of the Covid-19 Operations so far. It must publish acquittals (accounts and details) and account for the first K24 million, the K600 million roll out, the K 1.2 billion soft loan from Australia and all subsequent gifts, grants and loans.

"Otherwise, we can rightly and with justification accuse the Prime Minister and his foreign advisors of fudging spikes in Coronavirus infections as a gimmick to attract and spend funds dubiously and on expenditures unrelated to the health pandemic.

"We just need to remind ourselves of Mr Marape's WhatsApp message not too long ago to his Pangu Pati members that he would do whatever it takes to return them to power in 2022.

"Marape wrote then, and I quote: 'Brothers we will win so trust me we will use corona to reorganize what is essential to support our strategy for 2022 so each of you are better prepared'.

"In the absence of any reporting and any future plans or strategies we can only conclude that the Prime Minister and his team are applying their election 2022 strategy.

"If the government is serious in addressing this issue, where are the plans and strategies. We are already one full year into the pandemic.

"This Covid-19/Coronavirus is here to stay. By now we should have an immediate, a medium term and long term plans and strategies in place to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.

"There ought to be multiple scenarios plotted and detailed responses to each scenario as it occurs.

"Such strategies and plans must be set beside broader national health plans so resources are distributed fairly to combat older diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and cancer among others. 

These diseases too are running amok amidst our population, each of them killing more people each day than all the Covid-19 deaths so far.

"Such plans and strategies should include socio-economic strategies and rescue packages because this is not a health issue alone. It will involve a whole of government and whole of nation approach. It must involve everyone BUT thus far the Opposition has never been approached.

"Apart from the 'niupela pasin protocols', we need to inform the people on the full medical effect of this virus, how the virus enters and damages the body and the duration of its virulence among other factors.

"The people need now to be told how effective the AstraZeneca vaccine is, how it fights the virus in the body, how often one needs to be vaccinated or is it a once in a lifetime shot such as for polio.

"Is there a guarantee of continued supply of this vaccine into the future? If not will mixing of different vaccines have an effect on our people? What are these effects?

"Another important point is that 8,000 vaccines is way too few.

"While I do not want to look Australia's gift horse in the mouth, 8,000 doses is way too insignificant to make any difference. If they are really serious the World Health Organization and Prime Minister Marape and his cohorts must acquire 8 million vaccines which will be sufficient to cover the nation.

"If you ask me this 8,000 vaccines is in reality fufther experiment on the effectiveness of the vaccine upon a different demographic grouping. 

I hate to think that our limited number of front line health workers will be subjected to this test. "Are we Guinea Pigs?"

"What if something goes wrong and our front line health workforce collapses? Has the Prime Minister given this possibility some thought? This is something that is positively dangerous.

"Hospitals and health centres are stressed beyond capacity not because of Covid-19 patients but because they are underfunded and under equipped by the government. Let us not kid ourselves."

"If he stands on his promise to build the Richest Black Christian Nation on earth in ten (10) years, he had better stop copying everything the rich white world is doing and telling him to do.

"Finally, I stand ready to fund and collaborate with the PNG Institute of Medical Research on a scientific project of my own in my electorate of Vanimo Green River.

"l wish to ask PNGIMR researchers to go deep into the remotest parts of my electorate where people have had minimum contact with the outside world and collect blood sample and antibodies.

"It might turn out that our people have been living with the Covid19/Coronavirus and have built natural immunity to it. It might be even proven that Coronavirus has been here for 100s of years. And or there might be other factors in our genes makeup which make our people naturally resilient to viral attacks of this nature.

"How else can we explain our people's apparent immunity so far. Unless we know this for certain backed by scientific facts we are stumbling along blindly in a dark alley holding on to the hand of WHO and whomsoever else and in the end succumb to their agenda and their mistakes if it turns out that way.

"Our people should be falling over and dying everywhere judging from what is happening around the world and judging by the manner in which we live.

"This is what I have been calling upon the government to do ever since the declaration of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March 2020. I have been calling on the government to give sufficient funding to PNG IMR to do this investigation and research. 

We need our own scientific information on what is happening. It might well turn out that we have natural antibodies that we can offer the world as a cure rather than their drugs and vaccines.

"Think about that....."


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