NEWS

Jab For Kids Plan

“When there are high communi­ty transmission children become more vulnerable and they fall ill very quickly. This is why, at this point, we need adults to be vacci­nated so that we can protect those who are not eligible yet for vacci­nation,”
05 Aug 2021 12:52
Jab For Kids Plan

Children under the age of 18 will soon be vaccinated if the Ministry of Health and Medical Services succeeds in ob­taining COVID-19 vaccines for them.

The ministry is hopeful, and the affirmation was made yesterday by the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong.

He said there were ongoing talks between the ministry and relevant stakeholders on how the country could access safe vaccines for chil­dren.

“When there are high communi­ty transmission children become more vulnerable and they fall ill very quickly. This is why, at this point, we need adults to be vacci­nated so that we can protect those who are not eligible yet for vacci­nation,” he said.

Dr Fong said no one in the coun­try, who was fully vaccinated, had died from COVID-19 or from re­ceiving the vaccine.

As of August 2, he said 491,056 adults nationwide had received their first dose of the vaccine; 151,866 have received their second dose.

“This means that 83.7 per cent of the target population have received at least one dose and 25.9 per cent are now fully vaccinated nationwide,” he said.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said dialogue for securing vaccination for those below 18 years of age was ongoing.

“We note that the European Union has made recommendations to this and we in Fiji are on track to have all current age eligible individuals vaccinated,” he said.

The minister said they would follow the World Health Organisation’s guideline for children’s vaccination when the rollout for those below 18 years started.

He said they would begin vaccinating those 16 years and below, then to those 12 years and below before all others could be vaccinated.

CDC predictions

Dr Fong also admitted that people choosing not to vaccinate was a worry.

In the past week, the Centre for Disease Control in America made a prediction saying if herd immunity was not achieved within a set time frame, it would allow the virus to mutate and render all vaccination efforts ineffective.

Dr Fong said there was a potential for this to happen.

“It is unfortunate that despite what we see in the world and in Fiji, there are still many who feel the need to continue to undermine vaccination,” he said.

“Achieving the vaccination of eligible people will ensure that virus transmission is much less, and the serious consequences are reduced by 92 per cent.

“The vaccine protection rate is 92 per cent and not 100 per cent; so, in the long run, achieving community protection can only happen if we supplement vaccination with COVID safe measures and ongoing test and isolate measures. Vaccination is not a silver bullet, but it makes COVID-19 easier to manage.”



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