Health Ministry procures 124,000 vaccines

Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar speaks to the media during a press conference at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services headquarters in Toorak, Suva on Thursday, May 03, 2018. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

THE Health Ministry has procured more than 124,000 vaccines to vaccinate Fijians aged 19 years and below for prevention against the deadly meningococcal (Men-C) disease outbreak.Health Minister Rosy Akbar said of the more than 124,000 vaccines procured at this stage, 63,000 Men-C doses would arrive into the country today, while the other  61,830 would arrive on May 7 and May 9 respectively.

With venues for the mass vaccination not confirmed yet, Ms Akbar said with the arrival of the vaccines, immunisation campaign was planned to start on May 14.

“This (procurement) has been an intensive process, complicated by the fact that
access to this stockpile is usually prioritised for outbreaks of meningococcal disease in the African Meningitis Belt, and for low-income countries (based on gross national income per capita – GNI) which Fiji is not,” she said.

Ms Akbar reiterated that there was no delay in the procuring of the Men-C vaccines.
She said supplies of Men-C vaccines were limited on the world market, and it would have been extremely difficult, and much costlier, to procure this massive amount of vaccine by any other means.

“The conjugate monovalent Men-C vaccine is safe and effective, it has been licensed
for use in countries like Canada, United Kingdom and Australia since the late 1990s.”