Fiji reports 10 more covid deaths – Flying Fijians to wear vax slogan

Flying Fijians' blank jerseys
Fiji wore blank jerseys during the first test in Dunedin instead of wearing the "Vaccinate Fiji" version. Image: Andrew Cornaga/Photosport/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

Fiji health authorities have reported an additional 10 deaths from covid-19 over the past week.

In his daily statement on covid-19 cases, Health Secretary Dr James Fong said there were 634 new cases for the 24 hour period ending at 8am yesterday.

All of the dead were aged from 42 to 90 and nine had not been vaccinated, with the 10th having had one dose of vaccine.

Another two deaths of covid positive people are being investigated as they also had pre-existing medical conditions.

There have now been 69 deaths in Fiji from covid 19, 67 of those since the latest outbreak began in April.

Fiji now has 10,033 active cases.

As of Tuesday the government reports that 370,219 people had received their first dose of vaccine and 70,917 had had both doses, meaning just over 12 percent of the population is fully innoculated.

Dr Fong said people are still dying at home or coming into medical facilities in the late stage of severe illness, so reducing the chances of recovery.

Fiji to wear vaccinate jersey
The Fiji rugby team have agreed to wear jerseys supporting covid-19 vaccinations in this weekend’s second test against the All Blacks in Hamilton.

In a statement, Fiji Rugby chief executive John O’Connor said that after “comprehensive and productive discussions” with the Flying Fijian players, the team has agreed to wear the playing jersey featuring the “Vaccinate Fiji” message.

The team were supposed to wear jerseys with the words “Vaccinate Fiji” on the chest in last Saturday’s 57-23 loss to New Zealand in Dunedin, but the idea was ditched because of opposition from some team members.

"Vaccinate Fiji" rugby jerseys
Fiji was supposed to wear jerseys with the words “Vaccinate Fiji” on the chest in Dunedin. Image: Fiji Rugby

Flying Fijians coach Vern Cotter said the jersey idea was “sprung” on the players at late notice without the necessary consultation.

“As you can imagine, it’s a delicate subject for some and so it was probably better to just have a clean jersey and then spend some time on how best we want to communicate on this matter and how comfortable the players and everybody are around that communication.”

That discussion has now taken place.

“We have listened to the concerns raised by some members of the squad regarding the message, and the perspective that individuals have different choices when it comes to vaccination,” O’Connor said.

“In turn, we explained FRU’s position and support for the vaccination programme in Fiji, which will help save lives and assist our health authorities in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.”

With not all the players fully on board, a compromise was struck.

“The squad has settled on the “Vaccinate Fiji’ jersey, with an additional “It’s Your Choice” message alongside it,” O’Connor explained.

“We thank them for their understanding and participation in this process.”

There will also be “Vaccinate Fiji” signage at the Hamilton game.

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

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