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.