87% of the population that is 12 years and over fully vaccinated
Booster program deployment is very slow – Dr. Fong

87% of the population that is 12 years and over fully vaccinated

Booster program deployment is very slow – Dr. Fong

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 22/03/2022
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong. [Image: Fijian Government]

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says Fiji’s vaccination coverage stands at 87% for the population that is 12 years and over and the country has quite a lot of post-infection acquired immunity in the population.

He says while this is good, unfortunately in terms of protection, they expect decreasing immunity from the 2 doses of vaccines as well as decreasing post-infection acquired immunity over time.

Dr. Fong says as of yesterday, a total of 114,144 individuals have so far received booster doses but the booster program deployment is very slow.

He further says while people have been advised to obtain their booster dose after at least 5 months from their second COVID-19 vaccine dose, they will shortly be advising a shorter interval period in recognition of the risk of disease surge as there is a resurgence of COVID in Europe, China, NZ, and Australia.

The Permanent Secretary has highlighted the current booster program has been slowed down by slower uptake and deployment challenges relating to the need to deal with the current surge of leptospirosis, typhoid, dengue fever, and influenza we are facing Fiji-wide.

He says there is also recent evidence that indicates an increased need to vaccinate children between 12 and 18 years to sustain community-wide protection.

Dr. Fong says he has instructed teams to go back to health facilities and do targeted booster programs for the vulnerable and the willing and to focus on the 12 to 18-year-olds through the school vaccination program.

He confirms they are close to opening an avenue to getting access to paediatric doses of vaccines

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