Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) launched its COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-out on Friday 21st May in Tabubil, Western Province.
The launching marked the first batch of 1,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which OTML received from the National Department of Health on Wednesday 19th May.
OTML Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Musje Werror with the Company’s senior management and employees, including its contractors, business partners, Tabubil Hospital staff, and teachers received their first dose of the vaccine.
A total of 213 people were vaccinated during the launch while a further 150 people have already registered to be vaccinated this week.
“The support we have received from everyone who made the decision to keep themselves, their families, colleagues and our operations safe from COVID-19 by getting their first dose of vaccine during the launch was very encouraging.” Mr Werror said.
“However, there is still a long way to go to achieve herd immunity so that we can return to some level of normality.”
Mr Werror said the Company is encouraging all its employees, contractors, public servants, town residents, business partners and teachers to receive the vaccine because it is important for the wellbeing of themselves, their families and the communities as well as the continuity of operations. He re-affirmed however, that the decision to be vaccinated remains voluntary.
Tabubil Hospital Administrator Ms Margareth Samei said the significant number of people who received the vaccine during the launch was a reflection of the level of vaccine awareness her medical team had presented to front line workers such as teachers, bankers, shop attendants, security personnel, and health care workers in the last week.
“The hospital has been working together with OTML to conduct awareness on the vaccine, and its health benefits which has helped people to make informed decisions before they get the jab. We will continue this awareness throughout the Company’s operations so that more people have the correct information on the vaccine,” she said.
OTML Superintendent for Logistics Operations, Walimu Karo, who received the vaccine said he decided to get vaccinated to protect himself and his family from the virus.
“People overseas have taken the vaccine and they are beginning to lift restrictions such as allowing people into stadiums to watch rugby. That’s basically why I wanted to get the vaccine so that our lives can return to normal,” Mr Karo said.
Since the pandemic began in March last year, mining operations at the Ok Tedi mine have been suspended twice due to an escalation of COVID-19 positive cases.