Kuala Lumpur/Suva: The Fiji Islands are hit the most by COVID-19 among the countries in the Pacific and struggle to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Every 10 days the COVID-19 infections double, which is the second-fastest rate globally according to Oxford University’s Our Worlds in Data.
Vaccination of all people is most important to bring an end to the pandemic. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), urges adults in Pacific countries to get vaccinated. Misinformation and rumors about the vaccine caused fear among communities and undermines the efforts of the vaccination drive and to boost immunizations.
Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said: “In the Pacific, it’s a critical time to ramp up vaccinations while dispelling myths and rumors to help people understand the importance of being protected. We know vaccines prevent people from getting sick, help stretched health systems cope and crippled economies get back on track.”
The Red Cross National Societies, alongside local authorities across the Pacific, reach out to people in urban and remote communities to ensure that all will have access to vaccination centers and get their jab.
Some Pacific countries like Fiji and Marshall Islands so far vaccinated about a quarter of its people with one dose, but the rates of full COVID-19 vaccination in the South Pacific is still very low. The Fiji and Solomon Islands vaccinated only 1% of its people and Tonga managed to vaccinate not more than 1.3% according to Our World in Data.
The Pacific countries closed its border to protect the islands and people’s health from the fatal impact of COVID-19, leaving millions suffering from the impact of the pandemic economically and socially. Many people have lost their jobs and source of income. At the same time, the cost of food and basic essentials has increased and taken on horrendous figures.
Ms Greenwood said, “Protecting the whole population with vaccinations is a crucial step to prevent further suffering. The current COVID-19 surge in Fiji, is a serious wake-up call for the Pacific. Accurate and timely information saves lives. We cannot afford to let our guards down.”
Over half a million of the Pacific population have been reached by Red Cross volunteers promoting the importance of hygiene and organizing information campaigns about COVID-19, ensuring nobody is left without help. “Each of us will only be safe when everyone is safe,” Ms Greenwood said.