Minister on third wave deaths

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

Almost all of the 52 COVID-19 deaths reported in this third wave died at home without receiving treatment in a care facility.

This, according to Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete. During a ministerial brief at the Suvavou House in Suva yesterday, Dr Waqainabete said the ministry was seeing much lower levels of severe disease and hospitalisation compared with past outbreaks.

Dr Waqainabete said this was attributed to the excellent protection offered by vaccines.

“This variant is also less severe,” he said.

“However, some people who are over the age of 50 or have significant chronic illnesses are still at risk.

“It is a sad fact that of the 52 COVID-19 deaths in this third wave, nearly all at home died without receiving any treatment in a care facility.”

He said the ministry was urging everyone to be on high alert for COVID symptoms and to immediately seek medical care if people were having trouble breathing (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing), ongoing chest pain, severe headache, confusion, inability to stay awake or wake up, pale, grey or blue-coloured skin, lips or fingernails, worsening weakness, coughing blood.

Dr Waqainabete said for the current vaccination campaign, as of January, a total of 142,240 people were due to receive their booster doses, of which 48,946 had been boosted.

“Our current stocks of the Moderna vaccine, which is being used as the booster dose, are over 100,000 doses. We are also expecting more of the Pfizer vaccine by the middle of this month.”

He said the ministry was completing preparations to facilitate the deployment of Pfizer vaccines as booster doses for adults over 18 years of age and for children above 12 years of age.

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