Friday, May 7, 2021

Covid Vaccine

When the rest of the world was dealing with the Global Pandemic, for a long time, PNG was spared of the devastation it was causing, but all that somewhat changed in the beginning of this year.  We went from having about 1000 cases to now over 11,000.  Compared to some countries, our numbers are still quite small, but it is affecting us.  

Our Resp Isolation Ward has had as many as 18 people admitted at one time, but more often have about 10-15 patients in there who need oxygen to treat their disease.  Our ward becomes a temporary home for many of our patients.  Today I discharged 6 people, 3 of these having been there for about a month now.  Thankfully, our patients have the support of their families which has made a big difference.  Our nurses and doctors are doing all they can to care for them and to try and give them the best care we can provide in a safe way to those who need it.   Despite doing all we can, some patients have died. There are over 100 deaths in the country so far, some at our hospital.  

Knowing that there are really only a couple of ways out of this - either everyone gets Covid and we see who is left standing, or we get vaccinated.  Thankfully, our Australian neighbors and the people of India and Gavi/Covax Alliances - we have been able to get some doses of Covid vaccine in the country.  We initially got 8000 from Australia, and then more recently got 130,000 doses from India, to help protect our front line workers.  

We got 500 doses of the vaccine this week, which should be enough to put into the arms of all of our Hospital workers and Front Line Workers here.  We were able to start putting it into the arms of some of our workers this week.  Many of our doctors and some of our staff have been waiting and couldn't wait to get a shot.  A number of the doctors and some of our Surgery Staff were the first to get the vaccine.  While there is still apprehension and fear from some of our workers, we hope that by getting it we can encourage others to get it also.  

We not only want to try and protect ourselves and our families, but also our patients.  We are diagnosing around 3 new cases a day, but likely are seeing even more with mild symptoms that we don't even recognize or they don't recognize.  So by getting vaccinated, we want to be able to ensure our doors are still open, because our staff is well and not out with Covid.  We want our operating rooms to have enough staff to do the emergency surgery or Section, our Delivery room to have midwives who can help our moms deliver babies, our Emergency Room has nurses who can care for those who need help, and more.