COVID-19: Vaccinated frontliner tests positive

Divisional Medical Officer West Dr Susana Nakalevu (centre) with Divisional Health Inspector West Rakesh Kumar meet with the frontline nurses at the commencement of the COVID 19 Frontliners Vaccination Campaign at Nadi International Airport. Picture: REINAL CHAND/FT FILE

A soldier who had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has tested positive for coronavirus in Nadi.

He was working at a quarantine facility and tested positive on Saturday, with authorities treating this as a possible case of “transmission beyond the border”.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the soldier having been vaccinated was a factor “working in our favour”.

“The soldier had received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

“That means his risk of severe infection is reduced and it is likely his risk of transmission was lower.

“But that doesn’t mean we can afford to take any chances.

“Particularly, given the rise of new and more contagious variants of COVID-19 around the world.”

He said if the soldier hadn’t received the first vaccination dose, “the risk to him and others would have been much higher”.

“We are responding to this case with the same extreme precaution we have employed from the start of the pandemic.

“When it comes to containing a disease as insidious as the coronavirus, the risks are simply too high to take chances.”

He said there wasn’t a breach of protocol at the quarantine facility.

“At this stage, we will continue to strengthen our procedures to further reduce the risk of transmission within our quarantine facilities.”

Mr Bainimarama said April 18 was the one-year mark since Fiji’s last case of COVID-19 outside of a border quarantine facility.

“As of today (yesterday), that record stands.”

(This article was published in The Fiji Times on Monday, April 19, 2021)

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