In Fiji, the government has made it compulsory for its citizens to get vaccinated. The target is to get at least 300,000 adults vaccinated in Fiji.
The decision has been met with criticism from citizens and other international bodies. The government believes that is the best way to control and eradicate coronavirus from the country.
Last summer, Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, announced a policy termed as “No jab no job” plan.
This governmental policy made it compulsory for all public and private workers to go in for COVID-19 vaccination or lose their jobs.
It has been a challenging moment for many workers especially some of the Methodist Church ministers in the country.
According to sources, the Methodist Church is the largest Christian denomination in Fiji. It boasts about 36.2% of the total population.
11 Methodist ministers have made a strong decision to quit the Church because they are not ready to go in for any vaccination. In view of this, they have automatically lost their positions or jobs in the church.
The church’s secretary, Rev Wilfred Regunamada explained that the supposed 11 ministers did quit the church willfully —thus nobody forced them.
According to him, the church tried to have a diplomatic conversation with them by asking “if they had changed their decision” but those who had not changed their mind and decided to leave were “farewelled very well”.
Rev Regunamada, said the vacant positions had already been filled by some of the preachers and theology students within the church.
The government’s law on compulsory vaccination in Fiji is so binding that people cannot avoid it without having some consequences like losing their job.
Prime Minister Bainimarama iterated:
“It does not matter if you are the CEO of a company, a sole trader or a salaried employee, you must be vaccinated to continue working or else that business will risk being shut down.
“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.”
It is very clear to the people of Fiji and the entire world that, the motive behind this compulsory vaccination is ‘Science.’
There is a strong belief in science as the ultimate panacea to the pandemic in Fiji.
However, as long as human rights concern is also a very important matter to consider; Amnesty International has added its voice by saying that the mandatory vaccine policy was not justified and urged Fiji’s government to “a clear, effective, and transparent information strategy to address vaccine uptake… rather than resorting to oppressive measures which may deprive people of their livelihoods”.
The 11 Methodist Ministers have been given up to November to get vaccinated but they handed over their ministerial jobs by sending in their resignation letters.
Rev Regunamada said:
“The church’s stand is mainly to ensure the safety of its members which means that its ministers, who are servants of the people, need to be vaccinated first.
“At the moment, those that have not been vaccinated have been requested not to partake in any church services but have been advised to stay in their own homes and they are still being paid.”
Finally, the government seems to reach her potential goal in her policy of getting everyone in Fiji vaccinated.
Sources say, at the moment at least only 8% of those eligible for vaccination haven’t shown up for the jab.