The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission commends the State for securing vaccination for pregnant women.
Director, Ashwin Raj says pregnant women, in the context of this pandemic, face vulnerability, and marginalization on two grounds.
He says these include the absence of a vaccine safe and suitable for their condition and the right to bodily autonomy and integrity and the ability to make an informed decision about their health and their bodies because of prevailing patriarchal prejudices.
Raj adds Fiji is indeed one of the privileged countries to have secured this vaccine.
According to Raj, we must not allow discrimination on prohibited grounds such as gender, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation from dissuading women from making an informed decision to get vaccinated.
He adds we must not allow men and their pride to override the right to life and health of our mothers, sisters, and daughters.
Raj says this is why awareness campaigns currently underway need to be intensified and sustained for the duration of the vaccination process to allow the public to make an informed choice.
The HRADC Director adds we must continue to create a safe and enabling space that empowers women to report without fear if they have been deprived of their right to access the vaccine by their families, religious or community leaders.