Ministry on mass gatherings

Members of the public line up in numbers to get their measles vaccine injection at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva on Wednesday, December 04, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

PEOPLE who were vaccinated in phase one of the measles immunisation campaign will not be vaccinated again in phase two.

This is the clarification from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Phase two of the campaign started in the Central Division this week, targeting people who may not be fully immunised and were most at risk of measles infection.

About 100,000 people around the country were vaccinated in phase one of the campaign, 20,000 of whom were people in the outbreak area of Serua/Namosi.

Meanwhile, the ministry has also warned of mass gatherings in outbreak areas, saying they would not support and had not supported any requests to condone mass gatherings in outbreak areas.

“Avoid holding or attending large gatherings of people, especially in Central Division, but also those that bring participants from across the country or overseas (such as youth camps, religious gatherings, graduation ceremonies, sporting events, etc).

Measles can spread very easily among large groups of people if they are not immune, who can then take the disease back into their communities,” the ministry said.

“If you are holding an event with international visitors, or participants from an outbreak area, please strongly encourage them to get vaccinated against measles at least two (2) weeks before travel. This especially applies to visitors travelling from other countries with measles outbreaks ie New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.”

The NGO Coalition for Human Rights yesterday revealed the cancellation of the annual Human Rights Day March scheduled for next Tuesday in Suva in light of the current measles outbreak.

“In light of the measles outbreak in Fiji, with 18 confirmed cases, we will adhere to the advisory from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to not hold any large gathering as it would put others at risk,” said NGOCHR chair Nalini Singh.

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