5 Nov 2021

Safe to vaccinate children, Fijian parents told

8:39 am on 5 November 2021

Parents in Fiji have been assured it's safe for their children to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

The government's assurance comes amid reports some parents are concerned about the effects of the vaccine on children, with the rollout having recently extended to children aged between 15 and 17 years of age.


.. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

Fiji's Health Secretary James Fong said authorities had not recorded anything of "great concern".

He said it was not mandatory for children to be vaccinated and the decision to do so is with the parents.

With Year 12 and 13 students (aged 15-17) back at school this week, Dr Fong says just over 30-thousand of them have been fully vaccinated.

"Children will be vaccinated according to the parents' choice and as per the right procedure," he said.

"There is absolutely no mandate for children to be vaccinated."

Dr Fong said they had not recorded anything of "great concern" from children who had already received their jabs.

"There are reports of negative reactions in terms of fever, body aches, muscle pain that children get.

"I think those are familiar to those of us who have had a number of vaccinations in the past, those are familiar symptoms.

"But we haven't had anything that has been of great concern to us."

The AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have all been used in Fiji.

With Year 12 and 13 students (aged 15-17) back at school this week, Fiji's Health Ministry said just over 30,000 of them were fully vaccinated.

Dr James Fong.

Dr James Fong. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

Nearly 90 percent of Fiji's target population is fully vaccinated and the government is set to reopen the country's borders to international travellers next week.

The list of travel partner source countries includes New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the USA.

Masks to be worn inside under Fiji's new Covid protocols

Fijians are being urged to wear a mask indoors under the revised public health Covid-19 protocols.

The Health Ministry said while it was not mandatory to wear a mask outdoors, it was now required indoors - in workplaces, social gatherings or while in close proximity to other people.

Dr Fong said the changes, which came into effect on Wednesday, would help prevent the spread of the virus while enabling Fijians to move freely.

"If I go down and walk along the road, I don't need a mask. But as soon as I come across a group of people standing close to each other, I just put my mask on and walk past them and then I take it off again," Fong explained.

"That needs to be the habit that we all get. You walk with your mask, you judge the situation when you put on the mask and you judge the situation when you take off the mask."

12 new cases confirmed

Fiji has recorded 12 new cases of Covid-19 in the latest 24-hour period reported.

This takes the total number of active cases to 993 - the first time infections have been below 1,000 since June this year.

The Health Ministry says there are no deaths to report and the toll remains at 674 - 672 from the outbreak that began in April this year.

Fiji has had 52,209 cases since the pandemic started in March last year - 52,139 of them since April 2021.