1 Sep 2021

Covid-19 Fiji: Over 50 effects from vaccine rollout recorded

6:11 am on 1 September 2021

Since the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination in Fiji, the government has recorded 56 events relating to adverse effects after immunisation.

This picture taken on April 24, 2021 shows residents wearing face masks waiting to cross the main road in the Fijian capital Suva ahead of an expected lockdown in the capital due to a Covid-19 spike. (Photo by Leon LORD / AFP)

Photo: AFP

Health Secretary Dr James Fong said their reports indicate that of these cases, 51 were non-serious adverse events and included the usual side-effects associated with vaccination.

Dr Fong reassured the public that the Health Ministry had investigated five cases of serious adverse incidents after vaccination.

He said the results showed they were not directly linked to vaccination.

"As of August 30th, 559,650 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 271,329 have received their second doses.

"This means that 95.6 percent of the target population have received at least one dose and 46.7 percent are now fully vaccinated nation-wide."

Dr Fong said they are tracking the adverse events after immunisation.

"We have extensively investigated five cases of serious adverse incidents after immunisation," he said.

"Based on investigations carried out through our internal medicine clinical services network together with our clinical colleagues in Australia and the WHO, we are confident that these cases do not fit into the clinical picture of severe side effects of vaccines."

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry announced 505 new cases and seven deaths for the 24 hours to 8am yesterday.

That compared with 184 cases and 10 deaths in the previous 24-hour period.

The death toll is at 496, with 494 of them from this latest outbreak that began in April this year.

Of yesterday's cases, 343 of them are from the Western Division, 105 from the Central Division and 57 cases are from the Eastern Division.

Dr Fong also confirmed 239 patients were admitted in hospital - 113 of them at the Lautoka Hospital, 19 at the FEMAT field hospital, and 107 are admitted at the Colonial War Memorial, St Giles and Makoi hospitals.

He said 24 patients are in severe condition, and 15 critical.

Fiji security forces monitor essential movement between red and green zones under Covid-19 response operations.

Fiji security forces monitor essential movement between red and green zones under Covid-19 response operations. Photo: Lice Movono

Covid patients isolate at home

More than 3000 Covid-19 patients in the Western Division are isolating at home because there are not enough hospital beds.

The Ministry announced the move in June amid a daily-record of cases, taking the total number of infections since April to over 19,000.

Health experts in and around Fiji have warned against the government's plan to isolate covid patients at home amid the escalating cases in the country.

There are 19,151 active cases in isolation with 8352 of them in the Central Division, 10,562 in the West, five in the North (Nabouwalu and Macuata), and 232 cases are in the Eastern Division (Kadavu).

Chief medical advisor Dr Jemesa Tudravu said the Ministry is monitoring patients on attributes such as age and comorbidity.

He said the patients are placed into categories of high, moderate or low risk.

Dr Tudravu said more than half of those isolating at home are in the Western Division where the highest number of infections are being recorded.

There have been calls for the government to declare a state of emergency but Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says there is no need.

Residents waiting outside a vaccination centre for their AstraZeneca dose against Covid-19 in Suva, 9 July 2021.

Photo: AFP

Remote villagers receive rations

Meanwhile, villagers on one of the furthest islands in the Yasawa Group have received their food rations.

The charitable group Rise Beyond the Reef has been providing assistance to Fiji's maritime community.

A boatload of supplies was delivered by chartered by Vomo Island Resort from the Lautoka Wharf.

Rise Beyond president Adi Sivia Qoro said the assistance would bring relief for the villagers who found it difficult to access basic amenities.

"For Viwa, the fuel cost is $100 return," she told local media. "That does not include the cost for the boatmaster, maintenance and labour cost to unload, et cetera. So when the boat breaks down, it is so hard for them to repair."

Adi Sivia said with the current pandemic, the situation on Viwa Island had brought on more challenges for villagers.

She said with Covid, those doing barter with the villagers pay $40 for fuel to return.

But she added this barely covered their fuel costs and this had frustrated them.

Adi Sivia said the assistance was a much needed relief to an already frustrating situation.

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