Half of Fijians surveyed will not vaccinate against COVID-19

Fifty percent of Fijians in the hesitant group of a survey say the fear of side-effects is the reason they will not vaccinate against COVID-19.

The study conducted by NGO, Dialogue Fiji from June 25 to July 10 this year found that 53.9 percent of Fijians surveyed believed the Covid-19 vaccine was "very safe".

The survey, 'Determinants of Covid-19 Vaccines Hesitancy in Fiji', stated that public confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccines to prevent infection may be affected by perceived risks associated with vaccination.

"Of the 1047 respondents, only 53.9 percent reported the vaccine was 'very safe', while 19.4 percent reported the vaccines to be 'little safe' to 'not safe at all'," Dialogue Fiji stated.

"This was also reflected in the hesitant group, where 50 percent reported a fear of vaccine side-effects as a reason for their refusal.

"Other causes include vaccines that aren't safe (36 percent), vaccines that have metal chips and are connected to 5G or are magnetic (17 percent) and the religious reasons (10 percent)."

Dialogue Fiji also stated that demographically, there was no observable difference between the two genders - 47.3 percent male versus 49.8 percent female or the two major ethnic groups (44.3 percent iTaukei or indigenous people versus 43.6 percent Fijians of Indian descent).

The study also found that 76.8 percent had reported their intention to get vaccinated, 13.1 percent were hesitant while 10.1 percent were undecided.

"The majority were from the Central Division (50.1 percent), Western (36.6 percent), Northern (8.2 percent) and Eastern (5.2 percent)."

As of 1 September 2021, 560,940 adults in Fiji have received their first dose of the vaccine and 278,131 got both jabs.

The Health Ministry said this means that 96 percent of the target population have received at least one dose and 48.4 percent are now fully-vaccinated nation-wide.