"I had to get my vaccination because I did not want to die," Dika Toua says in a campaign video ©Getty Images

The Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) and the country's best-known Olympian, Dika Toua, have backed a campaign urging residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Toua's starring roll in the "Sleeves Up" campaign comes as health authorities battle with vaccine scepticism and a cripplingly low inoculation rate.

Less than three per cent of Papua New Guinea's population is fully vaccinated, according to World Health Organization figures.

"I had to get my vaccination because I did not want to die," Toua says in a video which juxtaposes vaccination with weightlifting, the sport she had competed in at five Olympic Games.

"I had to get that in order to continue what I do and to protect my family.

"I know and I believe that I have been protected."

The PNGOC has shared the footage on its social media channels, giving its backing to the PNG-Aus Partnership campaign.

Toua won a Commonwealth Games gold medal at Glasgow 2014 and is a 12-time continental champion.

No other woman has competed in weightlifting at five Olympics, and her most recent appearance was at Tokyo 2020, age 37.

The PNGOC did not send any athletes to Beijing 2022, but the country's Prime Minister James Marape did travel for the Winter Olympics.

Marape tested positive COVID-19 upon arrival in China.

COVID-19 cases spiked in Papua New Guinea at the end of last year and it has reported 597 deaths since the start of the pandemic.