COVID-19 Fiji: Death of vaxxed individuals and two children inevitable

The death of the three fully vaxxed adults was compounded by existing medical conditions, placing them at higher risk of severe disease, and the demise of the two children, a consequence of widespread transmission in the community, Dr James Fong says.

Like any other vaccine, the Permanent Secretary for Health says, there is a small chance that people who have been partially or fully vaccinated can still get infected with severe COVID-19 and die, but it does not mean that vaccines are not effective, pointing to stats that showed that of the 477 people who died due to COVID-19 during the outbreak, 99.4% were not fully vaccinated.

Dr Fong also highlighted the progress made in the central division, as a combined result of vaccine uptake and adoption of COVID-safe measures including containment area protocols, where they are seeing a reduction in the number of individuals being treated in hospitals and dying.

Aged between 49 and 54 years, the three adults, who were among 11 new fatalities announced last night, had received both doses within the recommended timeframe, and the two children include a girl aged 11 years from Navua and a 6-month old boy from Nausori Highlands who also became the country’s youngest COVID-19 fatality.

“92% is not 100%. No vaccine offers 100% protection,” Dr Fong said. “The risk of death increases if someone has a medical condition that weakens their immune system (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, obesity) or they are in an older age group. These deaths in fully vaccinated individuals are rare, however, we can expect to see these as we continue to see widespread transmission in our community.

“The death of a child is always terrible and sadly COVID-19 does not discriminate. Whilst we know children are at significantly lower risk of suffering severe COVID-19, unfortunately as we continue to see the virus spread in our community, we will see children being infected and some tragically dying from COVID-19.”

PS Health Dr James Fong

Of the 477 deaths recorded in Fiji during this outbreak: 371(77.8%) were not vaccinated, 103 were partially vaccinated (21.6%), and 3 (0.6%)were fully vaccinated.


  • COVID-19 Deaths
    • 18 August
      • Male, 49, Nadi
      • Fully Vaccinated
      • Received the first dose in early May and the second dose on 9 July.
      • Presented to the Lautoka Hospital Emergency Department on 8 August in respiratory distress. Swabbed and tested positive
      • He reported that he had a cough and shortness of breath that began two days prior to his presentation (06/08).
    • 19 August
      • Female, 11, Naboutini Village, Navua
      • Declared dead on arrival at the Navua Hospital
      • She was swabbed on the same day and tested positive
      • Her family reported that she had a fever and cough two days prior to her presentation.
    • 21 August
      • Male, 54, Ba
        • Fully vaccinated. FIrst jab in late May and the second jab on 27 July.
        • Had a history of generalised weakness.
        • Reported having reduced appetite and fever for three days before his admission to Lautoka Hospital on 20 August.
        • He swabbed and tested positive upon presentation.
      • Female, 50, Rakiraki
        • Fully vaccinated. First dose in mid-April and second jab on 24 June
        • Reported experiencing generalised weakness, cough and shortness of breath three days before her presentation.
        • She was presented to Rakiraki Hospital where she was swabbed and tested positive on 21 August. She died on the same day.
    • 22 August
      • Female, 85, Tavua
      • Unvaccinated
      • Died at home
    • 23 August
      • Female, 82, Tavua
      • Unvaccinated
      • Died at home
    • 24 August
      • Male, 6-month, Nausori Highlands
        • Died 20 days after admission at the Lautoka Hospital.
        • Developed fever and irritability on 2 August. Taken to Bukuya Health Centre on 3 August.
        • Transferred to Lautoka Hospital on 4 August.
      • Male, 78, Tavua
        • Unvaccinated
        • Died at home
      • Female, 87, Tavua
        • Unvaccinated
        • Died at home
    • 26 August
      • Female, 43, Tailevu
        • Partially vaccinated, having received the first dose in early July.
        • Died at home
      • Male, 68, Lautoka
        • Unvaccinated
        • Died at home

The newly reported deaths take Fiji’s COVID-19 death toll to 479, of which 477 happened during the outbreak. Twelve other COVID-19 positive patients have died, but their deaths have been attributed to other causes, as with 282 previous cases.

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