By EDDIE OSIFELO
MANDATORY vaccination is crucial to protect the under-18-year-old population in the country.
Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers said this to the media via virtual conference on Wednesday this week.
He said the difference with Delta variant is that it kills a lot more than the original covid-19 strain.
“Why we need the vaccination is because 56,900 doses in four months is just not acceptable, it cannot protect us?” he said.
“And those of us can be protected if we chose not to be protected, our children, our families in the house we live are vulnerable.
“So, this is where the moral and ethical thing come in when you talk about vaccination,” he said.
Under the country’s vaccination roll out programme, the eligible target population is 414,327 of the estimated total population of 700,000 by end of this year.
Rodgers said since the vaccination programme started in March up until last Friday, they have managed to administer 56,900 doses.
He said of that, only 13,188 people are fully vaccinated.
However, Rodgers said to achieve the herd immunity of 80 percent of the 414 327, you need to vaccinate 331,500.
“That is the minimum number that we need to cover that both doses before we have any change of having some herd immunity.
“Herd immunity is important when disease come into the country, those that are not protect are protect by those that are vaccinated,” he said.
Furthermore, Rodgers said even if the 414,325 people are vaccinated, that is only 60 percent of the total population.
He said 40 percent of the total population cannot be vaccinated, not by choice but because they are under 18.
“Those are the people that we have to worry about.
“If we don’t vaccinate, it no just us, because in Fiji, children are dying,” he said.
Rodgers said Delta variant is no longer like the alpha variant.
“Alpha variant does not affect young people, here (Fiji) the delta variant, young children are the most affected.
“In Australia, 70 percent are the old people, 30 percent are the young people and they are dying and affected,” he added.
“How do you step up vaccination to protect the 40 percent?” he asked.
Island Sun understands the vaccination programme has rolled out to Western Province and is expected in Malaita next week.