Ministry of Health stresses urgency to increase booster coverage

The current notable increase in COVID-19 cases in Fiji indicates an urgent need to intensify efforts to increase booster dose coverage, said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. James Fong.

He made the comment in his COVID-19 update announcement last night announcing the 41 new cases recorded between June 3 and June 6.

At present, he said Fiji has 95% primary series COVID-19 coverage and 30% booster dose coverage for people aged 18 and over.

“It is well documented that immunity to COVID-19 vaccination wanes over time. The efficacy of protection against COVID-19 after a first series of vaccinations with AstraZeneca is lower than that of other COVID-19 vaccines, especially against the concerning variant of Omicron,” said Dr. Fong.

He said the return of most of the vaccination medical staff had also helped secure support for the scaling up of the booster vaccination coverage programme.

“Based on these data and international evidence, the ministry recommends that the interval between booster doses for eligible people over 18 be reduced to three months after the second dose in recognition of: the risk of an outbreak of the disease based on the reduction of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine protection; slow recall; the increase in international travel with the easing of border measures; and ongoing epidemics in various parts of the world.

“Therefore, we urge the public to obtain booster doses with a list of vaccination sites provided daily by MHMS. Currently, Pfizer and Moderna are recommended for booster doses. »

Maria J. Book