Government pleads with Fijians to register to vaccinate against covid

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Fiji vaccine rollout
Fiji's covid vaccination rollout begins this week ... 6000 frontline workers will get the first jabs. Image: Fiji govt/RNZ

By RNZ Pacific

Fijians have been urged to register as the government’s covid-19 vaccination campaign got underway this week.

The vaccine rollout started on Wednesday following the arrival of 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last weekend.

Since the vaccine requires two doses, 6000 front-line workers will get the first jabs.

But the government said this could not happen until people registered to get vaccinated.

With the absence of a national identification mechanism and a digital immunisation registry in Fiji, the government said the need to have a credible registration process and an internationally acceptable vaccine passport are paramount.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the vaccine alone would not stop the pandemic or the deaths associated with it.

But he said the vaccine rollout is a start in the fight against covid-19.

Frontline workers first
Since the vaccine requires two doses, Bainimarama said 6000 front-line workers would receive the first jab.

He said at least 600,000 Fijians needed to be vaccinated against covid-19.

“We have built an online registration portal that will give us the data we need to ensure a smooth nation-wide rollout.

“I urge every Fijian, it’s important that we all register so that we can roll out the vaccine on the timeline that makes it most effective.”

The government said the vaccine would not stop the pandemic or the deaths associated with it.

Bainimarama said the other important thing to realise was that many travellers would only visit countries whose population was vaccinated “so that is why the registration process is very important”.

He urged community leaders to assist the ministry and government in addressing the misinformation around the vaccine and to discourage those who are spreading the false information and support those who are vulnerable in the community.

Vaccine registration in Fiji
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama urges community leaders to assist the ministry and government in addressing the misinformation around the vaccine. Image: Fiji govt/RNZ

Misinformation growing – minister
Meanwhile, Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said he was concerned at the increased false claims against the government’s vaccination campaign.

Waqainabete said claims the vaccine was a mark of 666 with a micro-chip placed within it were not true.

The smallest microchip is still too large to insert into an immunisation shot, he said.

Waqainabete said the vaccine also did not contain meat products as falsely claimed.

“The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made from mRNA while the AstraZeneca from the DNA strand and contains lipids (fats) and a few other products such as sucrose (a form of sugar), salts, water for injections and amino acids.

“It does not contain any foetal cells, blood products, mercury, egg or latex stoppers, preservatives or pork products.”

Waqainabete also emphasised that it was important for all Fijians to register and get vaccinated once the vaccine procurement program commenced.

Two ways to register
There were two ways Fijians could register, he said.

“One is self-registration where they would fill an online form in the comfort of their homes.

“The second form of registration is face-to-face registration, whereby Fijians can visit designated registration centres to register and give the biometrics details at the same time.

“After registration, Fijians will be notified when to go for vaccination by a text.”

The government said the system would be able to capture both vaccine doses as and when it was carried out.

It said phase one of the vaccination rollout would include front-liners such as individual border controllers, sea and air transport, health and hotel workers and their immediate family members.

Phase two would cover vulnerable persons, including but not limited to, those with pre-existing commodity issues and Phase 3 would cover all those about 60 years of age, followed by any other person above the age of 18.

Fiji has had 66 cases of covid-19 with seven active cases in border quarantine.

Covid vaccine immumisation
Two ways for Fijians to register for the vaccine rollout. Image: Fiji govt/RNZ

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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