Three die of COVID-19 in Fiji despite receiving two jabs


-Three individuals who have received their second jab of the COVID-19 vaccine were among the 13 new covid deaths reported by Fiji’s Ministry of Health Wednesday.

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong said of the three individuals, two were infected with the virus before they received their second jab.

“We know from the timeline of when their symptoms first developed that two of these individuals were infected with the virus before they got the second dose of the vaccine. We must understand that there is a difference between cure and prevention. The vaccine is not a cure for COVID-19, which means it will not help if you get vaccinated when you are already infected and sick with the virus.”

Dr Fong said the third patient got sick with COVID-19 and died within two weeks of the second dose.

He said despite these individuals having received their second jab, they would have had to wait at least two weeks after the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated.

“No one in Fiji has died from COVID-19 after they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

He said that Fiji also reported 568 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

262 cases were recorded in the Western Division and 306 in the Central Division in Vitilevu, Fiji’s main island.

Dr Fong said despite the low numbers being reported recently, Fijians should not misinterpret it as a true reduction of COVID-19 cases in these two divisions.

“We can anticipate that these shifts have an impact on our daily reported case numbers and this is why it is critical that we use various data to inform our understanding of the current situation in these divisions. “

He said Fiji circumstance is reflective of the situation many countries are currently responding to globally.

“Over the past few weeks, we have also seen a spike in dangerous misinformation and individuals posing as experts providing incorrect facts about COVID-19. We are concerned that people who are inclined to resist the vaccine will cling to that misinformation or even misconstrue facts that are reported correctly, threatening the efforts of our teams trying to provide the best protection possible for our communities,” he said.

Dr Fong said evidence has shown that Fiji is on the right track with responding to this new strain.

The Ministry also reported 664 new recoveries, which means that there are now 24,299 active cases.

He said there are currently 300 COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in Fiji.

“70 patients are admitted to the Lautoka Hospital, 68 patients are admitted at the FEMAT field hospital, and 162 were admitted at CWM hospital, St Giles, and Makoi. 62 patients are considered to be in severe condition, and 12 are in critical condition,” Dr Fong said.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has warned that unvaccinated Fijians becoming COVID positive could deprive others from critical medical services.

Head of Health Protection, Doctor Aalisha Sahu Khan said those who believe that it is their individual choice not to vaccinate should consider that they are putting lives at risk.

She said anyone who becomes severely ill for failure to vaccinate is taking away vital resources from non-COVID patients.

“The more people we have unvaccinated in the population, the worse the impact on the health system, just like what’s happening in hospitals in other parts of the world. Their ICUs are filling up with people not vaccinated and very sick. What happens to people who are vaccinated but get other diseases or get into car accidents? What happens if they need a ventilator?.”

Dr Aalisha said despite the high uptake of the vaccine, the risk lies among those who could still become severely ill and overwhelm medical facilities in Viti Levu.

As of 10 August, 523,285 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 196,873 have received their second doses. This means that 89.2% of the target population have received at least one dose and 33.6% are now fully vaccinated nationwide.