Fiji’s PM urges public support to vaccination drive

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on Thursday urged the Fijian people to support the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the country, stressing it is important to the island nation’s economic recovery.

Speaking at a consultative meeting on a medical program held in the capital city Suva, Bainimarama said that Covid-19 vaccination is key to Fiji’s economic recovery.

The Prime Minister urged Fijians to support the Covid-19 vaccination drive beginning Wednesday. The country planned to first inoculate 6,000 frontline workers including health care workers, members of the disciplined forces and the border control staff who run the Covid-19 border control and quarantine services, the Xinhua news reported.

He said that Fiji relies on the Covid-19 vaccines “to protect our people and prepare our nation to re-engage with the rest of the world.”

“We are working on procuring all of the safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines we need to see that our people are immunised alongside the citizens of developed nations — we will not allow ourselves to be left behind,” he added.

Meanwhile, Fiji’s Health Ministry has told frontline workers receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday that it is normal to have side effects such as hand pain.

Fiji received on Saturday night the first batch of 12,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility led by the World Health Organization (WHO). More COVAX shipments of vaccines will arrive in the weeks to come.

Fiji, an island nation with a population of around 900,000, has set a target to get 1.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Fiji has so far reported 66 confirmed cases of Covid-19 including seven active cases, 57 recoveries and two deaths since its detection of first coronavirus infection in March last year.

The island nation still maintains a strict travel restriction to date for foreign visitors alongside a nationwide curfew effective from March 30 last year.