Plans to drop virus mandates

Shashi Karan Mishra (right) gets his vaccination card updated for the booster shot at Nadawa. Picture: RAMA/FILE

Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong says whether or not at least 80 per cent of Fijians receive booster shots of a COVID-19 vaccine, all remaining virus mandates will be removed.

Dr Fong made the comment in response to queries from The Fiji Times during a news conference yesterday where the question was put to him on whether booster shots would be made mandatory.

“Mandatory requirements is a double-edged sword,” he said.

“They are required during the acute moment of danger but once the level of danger comes down, we need to recede the mandatory requirement.

“So I am hoping that if we get the 80 per cent, we will drop it (virus mandates), but even if we do not get the 80 per cent at some point we will have to drop it – all the leftover mandates.

“And if people are not fully protected by the time we have to drop it — I guess the rest of Fiji has to move forward. We can’t be held back by those who do not wish to protect themselves.”

Dr Fong also said the biggest tragedy Fiji could suffer from COVID-19 was not acknowledging the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives during the pandemic over the past two years.

“If we don’t recognise the tragedy of that event, by ensuring that we work with the lessons learned and get ourselves vaccinated, then we have not made ourselves a better human being.

“Yes, people who have lost their lives and it should not go for nothing, it should mean something to Fiji so we need get people who matter to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.”

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