Strong leadership and public support have enabled Fiji to achieve nearly complete vaccination against Covid-19; however, misleading social media and untrustworthy politicians has left PNG with a very low vaccination rate.
Mid 2021, Fiji had one of the world’s highest per capita COVID-19 infection rates. Now it’s 80 % fully vaccinated. In contrast, Papua New Guinea is still only around 1% vaccinated.
Similarities between each country.
- Melanesian culture.
- Both received vaccines from Australia, New Zealand and the COVAX vaccine delivery initiative.
- Both are diverse culturally and geographically, and transport takes time.
- Both are democracies.
- Fijians have followed the medical guidance and overwhelmingly support vaccination.
- There is a “no jabs, no job” policy.
Papua New Guinea
- Massive vaccine hesitancy.
- People follow social media for information.
- Australian social media is influential.
- AstraZeneca is the primary vaccine—the debate about its safety has worried people.
- Donated vaccines have had to be re-gifted.
- Pro vaccine politicians lose popularity.
- Some vaccine patrols have been threatened.
- Trust in leaders has diminished due to wealth inequality, transparency and governance.
- Sadly many people believe that in PNG, COVID-19 will just become another endemic disease.
Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccine levels are affecting our South-west Pacific friends , and indirectly us.