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In brief: News from around the Pacific

Wednesday 27 October 2021 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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In brief: News from around the Pacific
Health workers wait for residents for their dose of AstraZeneca vaccine outside a vaccination center in Suva, after Fiji announced plans to make the coronavirus vaccine compulsory for all workers as it battles a runaway outbreak of the Delta variant. Photo: AFP or licensors

Fiji's target population mostly vaccinated; Tonga urges parents to get teenagers jabbed; Real action must come in Glasgow, says SPREP head; Manu Samoa star Va'ili pleads guilty

Fiji's target population mostly vaccinated

Fiji's Health Ministry says almost all of the country's target population is partially vaccinated against Covid-19.

In its latest figures released, the Ministry says 96.2 percent of the target population - or 594,731 people - has had a first dose of a Covid vaccine.

And 86.3% of the target population - a total of 533,663 adults have received their second dose and are now fully vaccinated.

Fiji's government recently opened up vaccination for children aged 15 to 17 years old.

Meanwhile, new daily confirmed covid case numbers continue to drop with 14 new cases reported taking the total number past 52-thousand, with 673 deaths.

Tonga urges parents to get teenagers jabbed

Tonga's Ministry of Health is urging parents to get their teenagers vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible.

According to Matangi Tonga, the ministry is in a race against time to inoculate 13,738 teenagers with the Pfizer vaccine before the doses it has in stock expire in 28 days time.

At least 1,097 people aged 12-17 years old have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine since it arrived last week.

The vaccine roll-out is focussing on secondary and middle schools on Tongatapu this week, while a vaccination team is to travel to 'Eua today to start vaccination at schools there, before going to other islands groups next week.

The ministry says so far, 35 percent of Tonga's population - over 37 thousand - has been fully vaccinated, and 51 percent have had the first of two doses.

Tonga is aiming for a target of 70 opercent of the population vaccinated, or 74,147 people.

Real action must come in Glasgow, says SPREP head

The Director General for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says countries have to deliver action at COP26 to progress the Paris Agreement.

SPREP has sent a delegation from the Pacific islands to Glasgow for the global climate change talks that start on Sunday.

SPEP'S Kosi Latu said many countries had made statements over the years, but COP26 has to be more than rhetoric.

"It's all good and well to make pledges and announcements in terms of zero net emmisions for 2050, but until I see a change in policy and legislation it's just rhetoric and that's part of the problem," he said.

According to Latu, it is complicated because there are countries who are fixed on maintaining their use of fossil fuels.

Manu Samoa star Va'ili pleads guilty

Manu Samoa star, Johnny Va'ili has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges; armed with a dangerous weapon and causing injury.

Police say the defendant knocked out an 18-year-old man during a fight and attempted to hide his body.

The man appeared in the District Court on Tuesday where initial charges of actual bodily harm were withdrawn.

Vaili was suspended last year from all rugby competition for six months after an incident at the Taumeasina Island Resort.

Greenpeace renews call against deep sea mining

Greenpeace Aotearoa has renewed calls to ban deep sea mining in the Pacific with a youth-fronted social media campaign.

A collective of young leaders called 'Oceanic Voices' has launched an online effort to engage their peers with climate change.

Campaigner Tina Maro said seabed mining in and around the Pacific will have devastating impacts for generations to come if it proceeds.

Maro said that as people from the sea, tangata moana have a responsibility as kaitiaki or guardians, to ensure its sustainability.

More than 30-thousand people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling for a ban on deep sea mining in the Pacific and New Zealand.