Vaccinating children crucial - top Fiji health official

Vaccination of children between 12 and 17 years is key to protecting Fiji's young people from COVID-19, the country's chief medical adviser says.

It comes amid concerns raised by the Health Ministry and the public at the rate of children dying from the virus in Fiji.

So far about 10 young people have succumbed to the Delta variant, with the latest victims a six-month-old boy and an 11-year-old girl among the dead reported last weekend.

Fiji's chief medical advisor Dr Jemesa Tudravu said vaccinating children would also be a crucial factor in deciding when schools reopen

Schools have been closed since April this year.

Tudravu said the most important aspect of schools reopening would be to "ensure the schools are safe and clean from contamination from the virus".

Another area would be "how do we minimise the opportunities for the virus to move into a school and spread in the school".

Vaccination would have a significant role in all of this, he said.

The ministry was now discussing vaccinating children from the ages of 12 to 17, Tudravu said.

"We are also looking at the current developments in regard to the safety of the vaccines in the younger, less than 12-year-olds.

"Our ideal would be to protect everybody, vaccinate everybody as everybody can hold the virus and everybody can carry the virus."

Those associated with the school such as teachers, transport and canteen operators should be vaccinated, he said.


Photo file Fiji Government