Fiji Health Ministry prepares for border opening


Medical experts’ reveal that Fiji does not need to wait for the two-week buffer period to re-open containment borders once 60 percentof the eligible population are fully vaccinated.

Fiji Medical Association President, Dr Basharat Munshi said the vaccination threshold is a national guide and should not to be mistaken as scientific data when assessing Fiji’s COVID situation.

“Numbers are guidelines and there is no exact science and there are many variables with medicine”.

Concerns have been raised on the safety of opening containment borders without waiting for the two-week buffer period, to which Dr Munshi replied that our safety can be measured by Fiji’s high vaccination rate.

“Ideally speaking the higher the vaccination coverage there is, the safer we are in terms of being able to contain the infections before we open up”.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete said by the time the 60 percent threshold is reached, the majority of the target population will be considered fully vaccinated.

“Even when we achieve that 60 percent, there’ll be a huge number of people that would have been fully vaccinated (and two weeks) even when we reach that 60 percent”.

The COVID-19 vaccine only takes full effect a fortnight after an individual receives the second jab.

Vaccination data is collected daily, except for Sundays when there is no vaccination.

As of Monday, the full vaccination rate was 1.8 percent below the 60 percent required to lift containment borders and move the curfew to 9 pm.

Meanwhile, students under the age of 18 will soon get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Speaking during the Radio Fiji One’s Nai Lalakai Programme, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said all Year 13 students who are 18 years and below will receive the Moderna vaccine.

Bainimarama said Year 7 to Year 12 students will have to wait for the Pfizer vaccine.

“The increasing number of people that receive the COVID-19 vaccination will enable the government and the Health Ministry to lift containment zones and other COVID-19 restrictions in place.”

Bainimarama said this is to ensure that children are safe from the virus and also allow the safe re-opening of schools.

All schools in Fiji have remained closed since April following the COVID-19 outbreak.