The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes says his government is not dumping the AstraZeneca vaccine in Fiji.
Feakes commented after changes were made in Australia on the age of people receiving AstraZeneca.
The High Commissioner said Australia is meeting the requirement based on Fiji’s request as he also said changes in Australia are specific for Australia where there is no outbreak, unlike Fiji.
“We are certainly not dumping the vaccine on Fiji, this is the vaccine that Fiji has requested, partly because it’s a tenth of the price of other vaccines and the cold storage requirement are much easier than alternative vaccines.”
Feakes said AstraZeneca has been proven effective and changes made in Australia are not permanent.
“In Fiji, there is an active outbreak and the advice is very clear that the risk of a blood clot from COVID-19 is higher than the risk of a blood clot from these vaccines.”
Feakes said all the members of his team have received AstraZeneca.
Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said AstraZeneca reduces serious illness, hospitalisation, and death and there has been no proof to say it is not working here.
Waqainabete also said there are protocols in place to monitor people who have received their dose of the vaccine and to date, they have not registered any severe side effects.
Meanwhile, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Fiji needs the vaccine now more than ever.
“Be a responsible Fijian, this is what the government needs right now. Fiji needs this right now. The only best thing you can do now is to get vaccinated. It’s easy and it’s free.”
Bainimarama said misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccination will only cause delay in getting back to normal.
“Once you get the jab, you will not regret it because you are allowing Fiji to be a step away from having a normal life that everyone has been longing for. I urge Fijians in the villages and communities to get the jab and help our Fiji get back on track. “
The Prime Minister says Fiji will win the fight against this killer virus, but it will only happen if we work together.
“I know that some people are saying that Fiji is in darkness. It will never be dark all the time, as there will always be light to overcome darkness. Fiji will win this battle and this storm will soon be over.”
As of Sunday, 256,791 Fijians have received their first dose and 12,246 have received their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS