All civil servants, workers must get vaccinated to keep jobs: Fijian PM

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 8, 2021
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SUVA, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said Thursday his government will ramp up the COVID-19 vaccination campaign starting from next week and give new teeth to the enforcement of health protection measures to ensure all civil servants and private workers are vaccinated.

Vaccines are the best possible protection, "for us, for those around us; those in our homes; those who ride the bus with us; those who share our places of work. Remember, this is not only about protecting ourselves -- getting vaccinated is a responsibility we all owe to each other," Bainimarama said while addressing the nation.

"That is why the government is asking that all employers and employees in Fiji -- including civil servants -- be vaccinated as a condition of their employment," he said.

Under government guidelines, civil servants who have not received their first dose of the vaccine must go on leave from Monday next week. They cannot come back to work until they have received at least the first dose of the vaccine before Aug. 15 and get fully vaccinated by Nov. 1. Anyone who does not adhere to the guidelines will be dismissed from work.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, all employers and employees in the private sector and statutory bodies must also get vaccinated or else lose their jobs.

"No jabs, no job -- that is what the science tells us is safest and that is now the policy of government and enforced through law," Bainimarama said.

He said the AstraZeneca vaccine administered in Fiji has been shown to offer 92 percent protection against hospitalization from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

With other potentially deadlier variants spreading around the world, including the highly contagious Lambda variant in Australia, Fiji cannot afford to waste time as vaccination is the only way forward, he said.

With enough vaccines supplied by Australia, India, and New Zealand, Fiji has been administering a steady average of 40,000 doses of vaccines every week, and so far 335,000 Fijians have been vaccinated, said the prime minister.

Fiji's target population for vaccination is 586,651 adults. By Nov. 1 this year, the government expects to have at least 80 percent of that group fully vaccinated. Enditem

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