Unvaccinated public workers can increase transmission: Dr Baker
July 10, 2021 4:40 pm
Fiji currently has amongst the highest rates in the world of new cases of COVID-19 and the consequence is larger numbers of people dying from this virus.
Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Dr Michael Baker highlighted that a high coverage of vaccination in the most vulnerable groups can greatly decrease the consequences of a pandemic wave like this.
With Fiji being amongst a handful of countries that have taken the oath of no jab, no job, Dr Baker says being unvaccinated and in public service greatly increases the risk of transmission.
“Again if you are in the public service and you are interfacing with the public, if you are not vaccinated that’s increasing the risk to you in terms of your occupational health and safety. But also the risk you pose to the clients that you are working with. So I think it is a defensible policy for the public sector, particularly health care workers and others who are interacting with the public.”
Dr Namoi Gough who is a member of the NZ/AUSMAT team in Suva believes government has the expertise and the know how to support communities as Fiji fights to contain the spread of the virus.
“The thing about lockdowns is its more possibly more helpful to be thinking about restricted movement restrictions and the reason being is that lockdown means different things to different people. If you actually look around Suva at the moment many of the precautions that are currently being taken would be equivocal to a level three or a level four lockdown in New Zealand. For example only essential services being open with many institutions being closed.”
The New Zealand health experts believe Fiji needs more support now than ever to help in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.