Misinformation to blame for low vaccination take up in Bougainville

Helen Hakena. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

New figures from PNG’s Covid-19 controllers, show just 627 Bougainvilleans have been vaccinated out of a population of about 300,000.

As with most of Papua New Guinea, very few people in Bougainville are getting vaccinated, often because they are discouraged by false claims made on social media.

The director of the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, Helen Hakena, says people were pleased when the vaccine arrived and were told it was free.

But she says stories then started popping up on social media such as that the vaccine contains a chip that will kill you in five years.

“The correct information, if somebody in authority can come out publicly and state very clearly to the public that’s OK to be vaccinated. And even those of us who have been vaccinated we should go out and tell people that we are OK, that we are not dying, that we are very healthy and it’s just like vaccinating children, with polio and all these other things,” she said.

Bougainville’s official death toll from Covid-19 is two, with 427 confirmed cases.

The PNG Covid Controller puts national deaths at 191 with 17,515 cases, but he has stopped testing for cases so the true extent of infection is unknown.

More Stories