Due to the increasing widespread transmission of COVID-19 disease across Viti Levu, pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting the virus which may cause severe illness, the ministry said.
“As a result, these women are prioritised for receiving the Moderna vaccines that provide earlier protection against the disease due to its shorter interval period of 28 days between the first and the second dose.”
Pregnant women who are employed as civil servants and are waiting to receive their COVID-19 vaccines, may continue to go to work as they will be temporarily exempted until 1 August 2021.
The Ministry of Health said pregnant women living outside Viti Levu must continue to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
Fiji has also recorded a high number of deaths of individuals aged 60 years and above, particularly those with comorbidity issues as a result of severe illness from COVID-19.
The deaths were mainly recorded within the Suva-Nausori corridor where the transmission is widespread.
The ministry said to provide earlier protection to the remaining unvaccinated vulnerable group within the Suva-Nausori corridor, the Moderna vaccines will be administered to individuals above 60 years of age residing in Suva-Nausori corridor, particularly those with comorbidities such as chronic lung disease, significant cardiac disease, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Meanwhile, individuals, who receive the first dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, can now receive their second dose after an interval of 8 weeks instead of 12 weeks.
“The decision has been made by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services following a latest research which shows that administering the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines at the minimum interval of 8 weeks provides the same level of protection as compared to the 12th week.”
“Administering the second dose at 8th week will not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine and will provide same level of immunity against the delta variant. Additionally, it will provide earlier protection against severe illness, hospitalisation and death from COVID-19.”
Fiji has recorded its third consecutive day of over 1000 new COVID-19 cases.
There are 1043 new cases in the 24-hour period to 8am Sunday and 13 deaths for the period of 14th July to 17th July.
Photo US Embassy Caption: Moderna vaccines arrives in Nadi