Australia to ask AstraZeneca, EU for 1 million vaccine doses for Papua New Guinea

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Canberra [Australia], March 17 (ANI/Sputnik): Australia will ask AstraZeneca and the European authorities to divert 1 million contracted COVID-19 vaccine doses to Papua New Guinea (PNG) amid worsening epidemiological situation in the southwestern Pacific nation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"With the support of the PNG government we're making a formal request to AstraZeneca and the European authorities to access 1 million doses of our contracted supplies of AstraZeneca not for Australia, but for PNG, a developing country in desperate need of these vaccines," Morrison said as quoted by ABC News.

According to the prime minister, it is in Australia's interest to help its closest neighbour.

The broadcaster noted that Australia will also send 8,000 doses of the vaccine next week to PNG for local health care workers.

PNG has so far confirmed over 2,300 cases of COVID-19 and 26 fatalities, with more than 1,400 active cases. (ANI/Sputnik)