As the Ministry of Health begins rolling out the Moderna vaccine for children between the ages of 15 to 17 years from today, Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has revealed in parliament that more than 8,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in Fiji so far.
Dr Waqainabete says as a nation, we have fought a long and hard battle together since April last year and our achievements speak for itself.
He says we are slowly and surely becoming one of the safest travel destinations in the world because of our high vaccination coverage.
Dr Waqainabete says these vaccines provide life-saving protection from complications of severe COVID-19 and prevent death.
He also says the majority of the deaths in this pandemic have occurred at home or before people reached the hospital and were among the unvaccinated.
The Health Minister adds they are also looking at the issue of long COVID.
He says in the last few months their clinical teams have been liaising with experts and are sharing information on this.
Dr Waqainabete says science continues to develop and the more we treat and manage this disease, the more we can improve.
He has also revealed that everyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is in their database to ensure that they are followed up appropriately if they have symptoms of long COVID.
Meanwhile, SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro says Dr Waqainabete needs to table a plan in parliament on the vaccination rollout for children because some parents have not yet accepted the vaccine.
Radrodro says there is need for the communities to be informed and educated.
She says parents are concerned regarding the COVID safe measures in schools.
She has also questioned if there will be a “no jab, no school” policy for students.
Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong had stated last week that the vaccines will not be made mandatory for students.
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