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Babies covered

Tevita Vuibau
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NINETY five per cent of Fijian babies have received immunisation and vaccination against various diseases.

This is the latest statistics provided by the Health Ministry as Fiji joins other countries around the world to celebrate World Immunisation Week.

This figure is from 2012 and show that immunisation coverage in Fiji is up from 79 per cent in 2006 placing Fiji ahead of many countries worldwide.

"Globally, the vaccination coverage has remained steady in the last few years. It has ranged from 11 per cent to 90 per cent depending on what disease is being vaccinated," Health Ministry permanent secretary for Dr Eloni Tora said yesterday.

"The lowest is particularly the ones that were just introduced in 2012.

"In Fiji, we have a much better coverage. The latest survey in 2012 and it has been confirmed that we have 95 per cent coverage of our babies. That's up from 79 per cent in 2006."

But Dr Tora said there was still more that could be done to improve vaccination and immunisation in the country.

"We need to improve on program efficiency," he said.

"We need to increase our vaccine coverage and more importantly from the wellness perspective, we have to link with other interventions."

This year's immunisation week celebrations in Fiji are focused on promoting vaccination against Hepatitis B with the theme Stop Hepatitis B and Liver cancer 'Vaccinate at Birth'.

WHO officer Dr Prakash Valliakolleri said while great progress had been made against Hepatitis B, there were still major challenges ahead.

"We all know that Hepatitis B is a silent killer and immunisation is one of the most successful and cost effective methods of treatment," he said

Two key documents for immunisation — National Immunisation Policy 2013- 2016 and the Cold Chain Guideline — ensures a more efficient program was also launched yesterday.

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