Vaccine rule a ‘threat to life’

Dr Jone Hawea shares his views on the ‘no jab, no job’ policy announced by the Government, at his home in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Former Health Ministry doctor Jone Hawea says Government’s “no jab, no job” policy threatens the livelihoods of those who do not wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr Hawea made the comments during a virtual discussion on Government’s ‘no jab, no job’ policy last week.

Dr Hawea said he was not “anti-vaccine” but was against the manner in which Fijians were being forced to take COVID-19 jabs.

He said it would be unethical for him to be against vaccination because he was trained at the Fiji School of Medicine and was taught about the benefits of vaccination.

“It is because I am vaccinated, I am alive and healthy today,” he said.

Dr Hawea said vaccines produced in the past went through rigorous trials and testing and had well documented “proven track records of benefits versus harm”.

“All medicines have side effects. For a medicine like a vaccine to have a proven track record, it must have an almost perfect track record of maximum benefits versus the harm.”

Dr Hawea claimed the COVID-19 vaccine was a trial vaccine.

“I am for vaccination.

In the context of this new vaccine – because it is untested – I am against forcing it, especially when threat to life is being used.

“I am using ‘threat to life’ because livelihood is the means to live and the means to life for all of those that are affected by this policy.

“You threaten my livelihood, you are threatening my means to live and the means to live of my family and as a doctor, I cannot encourage that.

“I cannot support that, in the context of this new vaccine. So I am not against vaccination. In the context of this vaccination, I am against that it is being forced.”

He said the law was being used to justify forceful vaccination.

“I have to satisfy the box of justice in my medical ethics. All the four pillars of ethics – autonomy, do no harm, maximum benefit and justice – are of equal importance. They all must be satisfied in order for me to agree to the practice.”

• Editor’s note: The Astra-Zeneca has received emergency use listing (EUL) from the World Health Organization allowing new drugs to be used in medical emergencies, subject to certain conditions.

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