The youth segment of Vanuatu’s population is responding less to the call to be vaccinated against coronavirus, a trend also noticeable in other countries.
This was conveyed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement to announce its sponsorship in this year’s Fest’Napuan, targeting youth.
The three days event starts today (Wednesday) with the country’s best string bands and runs until Saturday at Saralana Park in Port Vila.
The MOH is sponsoring the musical event by funding the national broadcaster to broadcast live and in return, COVID-19 vaccination messages will be diffused throughout the event.
This initiative is supported by the Australian Government.
Director of Public Health, Len Tarivonda, said in the statement: “It is critical to disseminate accurate information about vaccination against COVID-19 to protect our population against this deadly virus.”
Fest’Napuan is Vanuatu’s biggest annual event. It gathers over 35,000 people over four days, most of whom are young people.
Fest’ Napuan Chair, Jennifer Kausei, said: “On behalf of the Fest’Napuan Committee and all participating artists, I thank the MOH for its sponsorship and, more broadly, for keeping the country safe from COVID-19.
“Thanks to Vanuatu’s strong response, Fest’Napuan took place last year and now this year again. This is a situation that is unique in the world.”
The live coverage will enable citizens living overseas, including thousands of seasonal workers in Australia and New Zealand, to join virtually.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the national broadcaster, Francis Herman, said the company is pleased to contribute to national efforts of disseminating MOH’s campaign to promote vaccination.
According to the statement, “young people are not immune against COVID-19. They can also be infected by COVID-19 if they are not vaccinated.
“In many countries, non-vaccinated young people have died from COVID-19.
“Anyone infected can transmit this highly infectious disease to other people and some people are more likely to get sick and die, such as the elderly, pregnant women, people with other conditions like diabetes, and people with a disability.”