Vaccination reduces transmission by 70 percent: Fiji Health Minister


Vaccination reduces community transmission of the delta variant by seventy percent says Fijian Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Speaking in Parliament Monday, Dr Waqainabete said recent studies have shown that vaccination helps in reducing community transmission and this is the reason why the Ministry is encouraging the public to get vaccinated.

“Research to date has revealed that the delta variant of the coronavirus is more transmissible than the common cold or influenza virus,” he said.

“It is more transmissible than smallpox, ebola and chickenpox. Making it one of the most infectious if not the most infectious respiratory viruses humanity has ever encountered.

“Here in Fiji, the evidence is showing that we are on the right track with responding to this new strain. The latest global data tells us the vaccine does reduce the risk of symptomatic disease.

“After one dose of the vaccine, a person is provided 71 percent protection from being severely ill or hospitalised; and this protection goes up to 92 percent after the second dose.

“So while we know that some people may still be infected even if they are fully vaccinated, these vaccines provide life-saving protection,” he said.

He said recent global studies have also shown that the vaccines can help to reduce the risk of the virus spreading to other household members.

“In short, these vaccines will protect those who take them but also, to some extent, those that the vaccinated person comes into contact with.”

“So we should all be vaccinated, not only for our health, but for the health of those around us, our families, friends, co-workers, and customers,” he said.

“We also know that vaccination alone is not an answer, we must continue to apply all of the public health measures.

“For those in our community who have yet to be vaccinated, I want to again remind you to listen to the facts and not be misguided by misinformation and rumors,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Waqainabete said the Government has not blamed people for spreading COVID-19 in the community.

Dr Waqainabete said there are certain people who continue to breach the coronavirus restrictions in place and refuse to be vaccinated.

He said there have been some concerns of people spreading misinformation about coronavirus vaccines which lead to people in the interior refusing to be jabbed.

“We will continue to fight and shut down the naysayers, anti-vaxxers and opportunists who prey on the gullibility of the people,” he said.

“Some people have been talking erroneously about vaccination which includes an unregistered doctor who are using the mainstream media and are also part of panel discussions.”

“For the past few months they have seen a spike in dangerous information and individuals posing as experts providing incorrect facts about coronavirus vaccine,” he said.

He said the Ministry is concerned that people are inclined to resist the vaccine and will cling to this misinformation which threatens the efforts of the health teams.

“I have received a concerning message from the medical officer in Navosa who was saying that after getting their first doses, there are challenges again to roll out the second doses.

“We must encourage each other to take both the doses as full protection comes two weeks after the second dose,” he said.

He said platforms should not be provided for people who spread false information about the virus in Parliament and mainstream media.

In another development, an area of restricted movement was initiated from 12 midnight Monday within Nabouwalu in Vanualevu for the next 14 days after a new case was detected on the weekend.

Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said the containment area will extend from Raralevu-i-Cake to Wainisevu and along the coast of Nabouwalu Village.

“The two checkpoints maintained in the containment will be checkpoint one opposite the Nabouwalu market controlling movement into the main road that runs into the containment area and checkpoint two at Raralevu-I-cake past Nabouwalu village towards Wainunu.”

He said the objectives of this containment zone protocol is to facilitate heightened community surveillance, conduct more contacts tracing, escalate our COVID safe community engagement program and to implement a program to increase vaccination coverage in targeted areas throughout the Nabouwalu containment zone.

“Movement into and out of the containment area will be restricted to facilitate essential service provision and access to groceries and post office services.”

“The Office of the Provincial Administrator and sub-divisional medical teams have been carrying out community awareness on other specific movement restriction protocols and will continue this awareness exercise throughout the day tomorrow.”

“For health services, the Northern health team is setting up clinic sites at the Solevu Immaculate Conception Junior Secondary School, the Bua Nursing Station, and the Lekutu Health Centre to cater for the health needs of those living outside the containment area.”

“Nabouwalu hospital will be used by the health teams for emergency care only.”

Dr Fong said contact tracing of the lone case in the North has identified 33 primary contacts and 70 secondary contacts.

“All contacts have tested negative for COVID-19 so far and remain under quarantine,” he said.