A six-month-old baby has become the youngest COVID-19 victim in the country.
Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor James Fong says the infant from the Nausori Highlands was taken to the Bukuya Health Center earlier this month with symptoms of COVID-19.
The baby was later transferred to the Lautoka Hospital and passed away after 20 days of admission.
Dr Fong says the baby was among the 11 COVID-19 deaths which also includes an 11-year-old girl from Naboutini village in Navua. She was pronounced dead on arrival at the Navua hospital.
“As we continue to see the virus spread in our community, we will see children being infected and some tragically dying from COVID-19 so once again we are set with that same example, a rare event is rare but if there is too much of that event happening around that place than those rare events will become commonly seen.”
Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan says the infant was presented with severe respiratory distress.
“He was noted to be in severe respiratory distress by the attending medical officer at the Bukuya Health Center. The infant was medically stabilized and a medical team from the Nadi Hospital was arranged to retrieve the infant from Bukuya Health Center and transfer him to the Lautoka Divisional Hospital. Sadly, he died 20 days after admission. He was not vaccinated; he was not in the target population of 18 years and over that are eligible to receive the vaccine.”
Head of Health Protection Dr Aalisha Sahukhan says of the 11 deaths, three were fully vaccinated but had existing medical conditions.
One is a 49-year old man from Nadi while the second is a 54-year old man from Ba.
The third fully vaccinated person to die from COVID-19 is a 50-year old woman from Rakiraki.
The Permanent Secretary says these individuals had existing medical conditions that placed them at higher risk of severe disease.
He says while the vaccine provides a person the best protection from becoming seriously ill, hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19 – fully vaccinated people can still get the virus.
He says these deaths in fully vaccinated individuals are rare, however, we can expect to see this as we continue to see widespread transmission in our community.
Of the 11 deaths reported, three are from the Central Division while eight are from the Western Division.
The sixth COVID-19 death is a 43-year-old woman from Tailevu who died at home and was not fully vaccinated.
The seventh COVID-19 death to report is a 68-year-old unvaccinated man from Lautoka who died at home.
The eighth COVID-19 death to report is a 78-year-old unvaccinated man from Tavua who died at home as well.
The ninth COVID-19 death is an 85-year-old woman from Tavua who was not vaccinated.
The tenth COVID-19 death is an 82-year-old unvaccinated woman from Tavua who died at home.
The eleventh COVID-19 death is an 87-year-old woman from Tavua who died at home. She was not vaccinated.
Dr Fong says of the 477 deaths recorded in Fiji during this outbreak 371 were not vaccinated, 103 were partially vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated.
There have also been 151 new recoveries which mean there are 19,311 active cases.