Fiji’s Ministry of Health says the increase in daily coronavirus cases in the country lately indicate the beginning of the third wave of COVID-19, but it is unclear at this stage whether it is due to a resurgence of the endemic Delta variant or the Omicron variant.
If the latter, authorities are expecting a large number of cases including vaccinated persons getting infected, but unlike those unvaccinated they are far less likely to become sick enough to require hospitalisation.
This, Permanent Secretary Health Dr James Fong underlines the focus of the vaccination program which is to prevent severe illness and death as well as limit the strain on local medical services.
“Any additional protection that vaccines can provide against infection is an added bonus,” Dr Fong said.
Already the three divisional hospitals are reporting an increase in positive cases among new admissions whose coronavirus status are not known until they undergo mandatory testing before they are being admitted.
“They are being admitted for other medical conditions and are testing positive during mandatory testing for all admissions to the hospital.”
Dr Fong said the goal of the ministry’s COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery remains and that is to minimise severe illness and deaths, which will be ably supported if everyone strictly adheres to COVID-safe measures and getting vaccinated once they are eligible.
Health authorities are also banking on the combined immunity provided by Fiji’s vaccinated adult population which stands at 91 per cent and immunity expected due to a large number of people that were infected during the second wave on Viti Levu.
Booster doses are also being offered to adults who have been fully vaccinated for at least five months. The booster shots, the ministry says provide continued protection as the immunity provided by the two doses wanes six months on.