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Doctor James Fong: The Booster Is ‘VITAL

Dr Fong said with the endemic nature of the delta variant, surge in cases in the Northern Division and the expected arrival of Omicron, the need for the booster shots together with maintaining COVID safe measures were vital.
24 Dec 2021 13:00
Doctor James Fong: The Booster Is ‘VITAL
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Doctor James Fong.

Taking the booster shot is vital to ensure that protection against COVID-19 is stronger and longer lasting against other variants of interest.

Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong added that all individuals aged 18 years and over were now eligible to receive their COVID-19 booster dose.

Dr Fong said with the endemic nature of the delta variant, surge in cases in the Northern Division and the expected arrival of Omicron, the need for the booster shots together with maintaining COVID safe measures were vital.

 

He said now an individual could receive the COVID-19 booster dose, if he or she has received their initial two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines at least five months ago, that is, before July 22, 2021.

He added that the Moderna COVID- 19 vaccine had been authorised for use as the booster dose by stringent regulatory authorities with more than 30 countries including the United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Singapore and France administering the dose.

He said not only does a booster dose ensure protection against COVID-19 was stronger and longer  lasting, it also helped prevent the spread of the virus.

 

Dr Fong also said that the key was indulging in a vaccine plus strategy and not a vaccine only strategy.

“You still have to follow COVID safe protocols after being vaccinated.”

“For your family gatherings.”

“Please celebrate wisely and hold all those gatherings in spaces that you could ensure there is social distance and there is very good ventilation.”

“Preferably in an outdoor area,” he said.

 

“Inform your family and friends if there is anyone not feeling well, ask them to stay home and not attend any of those social gatherings.”

“Remember Fiji, as we enjoy our celebration this festive season we cannot and must not let our guard down.”

The ministry further encourages all individuals aged 18 years and over, who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease to get the booster dose.

 

Individuals who are not able to go to a vaccination site for the booster dose could contact the toll free line 158 to register for home vaccination.

The ministry is also anticipating receiving Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in January 2022 which have been approved for use as booster doses for the adult population.

 

Omicron ‘Very Likely’ To Enter Communities: Dr Fong
Dr Fong also said the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus would be invariable, and would enter Fijian communities because it is highly transmissible

In his Christmas message released yesterday, he said the ministry was monitoring the outbreak of the Omicron variant globally.

“My advisories this week expressed my concern at the lack of adherence of COVID safe measures that are seen in many of our social gatherings both indoors and outdoors,” he said.

 

“I need not remind you of the high number of cases, and the high number of deaths from COVID-19 that happened in the country this year.

“I will remind you however, of the steps that we take to make sure that we do not go through another period of mass illness and death that we went through during the second wave of the pandemic.”

He said while celebrating with family and friends this festive season, it was important for Fijians to remember that being vaccinated and continuing to practise COVID safe measures was still the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and to prevent any community transmission.

 
Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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