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Expert Views On COVID-19 Vaccine: It’s Safe, Take The Shot

Dr Virgilio De Asa, the owner of Nasese Medical Centre, said the COVID-19 vaccinations were the only way to at least minimise or reduce the risk of COVID-19.
20 Jan 2021 11:33
Expert Views On COVID-19 Vaccine: It’s Safe, Take The Shot

A leading general practitioner in the country has empowered Fijians to get vaccinated when the COVID-19 vaccine is available in the country.

Dr Virgilio De Asa, the owner of Nasese Medical Centre, said the COVID-19 vaccinations were the only way to at least minimise or reduce the risk of COVID-19.

His comments come in light of the critics on the administering of the vaccine here in the country once it is rolled out.

“The best option at the moment is the use of these vaccines,” he said.

“In my professional opinion, I could say that there will be minor side effects, but I would really empower Fijians to take it up when it is available.”

He said there were still minor issues that were still needed to be sorted out and that was the use of these vaccines on the elderly.

“This is with regards to the case in Norway.

President of the Fiji College of Private General Practitioner Dr Ram Raju (left) and owner of the Nasese Medical Centre Dr Virgilio De Asa

President of the Fiji College of Private General Practitioner Dr Ram Raju (left) and owner of the Nasese Medical Centre Dr Virgilio De Asa

“What we should actually keep in mind is that these elderly who had died after receiving some shots of the vaccine are 85 years and above and they had chronic diseases, meaning they were weak and had been suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma and their medical conditions.

“That shouldn’t really be a reason to judge the safety of the vaccine.

“I think it is essential that we roll in these vaccines, it is the only way forward to control the spread of these viruses.”

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said the COVAX portfolio vaccines had successfully undergone clinical tests and had proven themselves to be both safe and effective.

Fiji is a signatory to the World Health Organisation COVAX facility where the Fijian Government would gain access to vaccines.

COVAX is one of three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which was launched in April, 2020 by the World Health Organisation (WHO), European Commission and France in response to the pandemic.

Dr Waqainabete said the vaccine was safe and the ministry was looking at Pfizer vaccines and several other options through the COVAX facility.

“One thing we must understand is that vaccines have side effects but vaccines with a very low percentage of side effects are passed and accepted,” he said.

“We are working with the WHO through the COVAX facility and our COVID-19 vaccine taskforce to ensure that the vaccines are administered safely to Fijians.”

WHAT THE COVAX FACILITY BRINGS:

The facility brings together; 

  • governments, 
  • global health organisations, 
  • manufacturers, 
  • scientists, 
  • private sector, 
  • civil society 
  • and philanthropy, with the aim of providing innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines.

Fiji College of Private General Practitioner 

President of the Fiji College of Private General Practitioner Dr Ram Raju said Fijians should understand that the benefits of vaccines would always outweigh its side effects.

This was the case for vaccines that had been clinically trialled and passed.

“With any vaccine there are certain side effects that one has to be aware of, that is all I can say at this point in time,” Dr Raju said.

“The benefits actually outweigh the risks and there is quite a good number of vaccines which have been widely tested and distributed so we will just have to wait and see,” he said.

“For now all we know that the Ministry of Health is procuring the vaccines and early next month we are going to be briefed from the Ministry of Health officials.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the opening of the 148th session of the Executive Board said all countries must work together as one global family to prioritise vaccines to those most at risk of severe diseases and death.

“COVAX is ready to deliver what it was created for.

“I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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