While endorsing the Regional Strategic Framework for Vaccine-preventable Disease and Immunisation in the Western Pacific (2021 – 2030), Fiji called on WHO and partners to continue pursuing innovative solutions to the development of vaccines and support vaccination programs.
This was highlighted by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong as he addressed the Virtual WHO Regional Committee Meeting.
He has further called on the WHO and partners to support Fiji and members states to support the effective implementation of our national immunisation programs and making our immunisation program resilient enough against future public health emergencies.
“Fiji has continued to record high rates of immunisation coverage of more than 90% for most Vaccine-preventable diseases for our population. We acknowledge WHO and UNICEF for the technical support, the timely provision of vaccines for our target population and strengthening Fiji’s Cold Chain system which is the heart of EPI”, Dr Fong said.
He highlighted that the Measles outbreak experience of 2019 has taught us the need to ensure that we continue to minimise the immunity gaps in our national immunisation programs and the population.
“In our response to the imported outbreak, we achieved a coverage of 101.14% for the 6 months to 5 years target group, and 94.3% for the 19 to 39 years old target group.
This rapid and comprehensive response resulted in Fiji recording only 31 cases of Measles with no deaths”. We also continued vaccinating our infant population i.e. any child that reached 6 months of age, until we declared Measles Free status on 28th April 2020.
“Having achieved 95% coverage verified by the 2013 EPI Coverage Survey, Fiji is on track for Certification of Measles Elimination, and we look forward to WHO’s ongoing support to keep us on course.”
Dr Fong also thanked WHO, UNICEF and GAVI for the effort towards the COVID-19 vaccine and looks forward to ongoing engagement in the pre-planning and implementation of the vaccine roll-out once a safe vaccine becomes available.