Fiji PM launches schools vaccination programme and rollout of Mordena vaccine

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Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama today launched the school vaccination programme and rollout of the Moderna vaccine for children aged 15 years to 17 years, a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, and Ministry of Communication.

According to the Prime Minister, Fiji is the safest it has been since April thanks to the Fijian people’s exceptional effort to vaccinate our adult population. This exceptional effort to date has resulted in the 66 percent of all adults in the country being fully vaccinated and 98 percent have received their first dose.

Prime Minister Bainimarama continued to say that Fiji learned quickly from keeping an eye on the early vaccine rollout in more advanced countries where preventable death occurred when misinformation was allowed to fester.

PM Bainimarama was adamant that this would not be the case in Fiji.

“We took decisive measures to get people protected quickly through vaccine requirements for the workplace and to access unemployed benefits – and it worked. We are saving lives. We are moving forward. We have surpassed the rate of vaccination in most higher income countries, and are well on our way to achieving a 100 percent vaccination rate of the adults in Fiji. Until every Fijian that is eligible is vaccinated, our teams of nurses and doctors will continue to make sure that the vaccines reach every corner of our islands.”

Thanking all Fijians for the successful vaccine rollout, the Prime Minister stated that life in Fiji is now gradually becoming more familiar. After the containment area borders were lifted, the Prime Minister expressed how moved he was by the images he saw across Viti Levu of friends and family reuniting after five long months apart for the sake of our COVID containment effort.

“Now, we can focus on providing the same level of protection against the COVID-19 disease for our children, because Fiji will not be Fiji until our children are back in school where they ought to be,” said the Prime Minister.

PM Bainimarama in his address thanked all children and parents for keeping up with school work through online classes or worksheets provided by the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged all teachers especially those who have trekked for miles to get work sheets to their students in support of the Fijian Government’s efforts to ensure that no child is left behind. Additionally, the Prime Minister also recognised the efforts of parents who continue to engage their children in extracurricular activities, teaching life skills like home gardening, cooking and home maintenance activities.

Whilst launching the vaccination programme, the Prime Minister also thanked the government of the United States of America for making the Moderna vaccine available to Fiji and the New Zealand government for the Pfizer vaccine which will be rolled out later for children who are 12 to 14 years old.

“After completing all of the necessary clinical trials for safety and efficacy for children, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world have already received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Adding to that total, we have four students here with us this morning, Mohammed Taireem of Bhawani Dayal Arya College, Litia Golea Volavola of Gospel High School, Saula Muriwaqa of Queen Victoria School and Kristal Tasha Calo-oy of Yat Sen Secondary School who have been given consent by their parents to receive the first jabs of the Moderna vaccine. I want to thank these patriotic young people and their parents for their commitment to protect themselves and others. You should be very proud of yourselves today, and we are all certainly proud of you. Well done!”

PM Bainimarama in his address also encouraged all parents of children within the vaccination age group to get their children vaccinated and informed all parents that doctors, medical researches and health care professionals at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services are available to assist them in making this important decision for their children.

“As parents and guardians, you will be asked to register your consent for your children to receive this vaccine. We encourage you to do so online through the Vaccine Registry portal that is posted on the Fijian Government and Ministry of Health Facebook pages. Registration is very simple. It requires the Birth Registration Number, Citizenship Certificate Number or Permit Number from both the parent or guardian, and the child, entered alongside correlating dates of birth.”

The Prime Minister concluded his address by emphasising the need for all parents to keep themselves updated on the Moderna vaccine, its rollout program and to learn more about the benefits of this vaccine for their children on the Fijian Government’s Facebook page as well as across the air waves on radio and in the newspapers.

PM Bainimarama also reminded parents by consenting to their children getting vaccinated, they are consenting to their being protected against a deadly disease, which assists in stopping community transmission.

Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine is first being administered to 15 to 17 year olds who are nearing the end of their secondary education and need to sit for their external exams to progress onto tertiary education.

The vaccination programme will add a powerful layer of protection for our children against COVID-19 to support their return to school so Fiji’s education revolution is back underway.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS