Fijian woman who lost mother to COVID-19 blames vaccine misinformation

A grieving family in Fiji who lost their mother to COVID-19 says misinformation about the pandemic and the vaccine is rife - even among health professionals. 

The country is now designated very high risk as the death toll rises to 368.

Maryann Lockington says her mother's hesitancy to get vaccinated, cost her her life.

"We've been coping with her death as much as we can and trying to keep the other family members safe," she told Newshub on Monday.

"We're doing our best because we only have ourselves to rely on."

Tamrish Lockington had an underlying condition that made her more susceptible to COVID-19 - and misinformation about the efficacy of vaccines meant she did not receive the jab before she caught the virus.

"It happened really fast," her daughter says.

"Within four days she passed."

Maryann says Fiji is battling two things - the pandemic and the misinformation around it. It's so bad, she says even health professionals are contributing to the fear.

"We have doctors in Fiji that are discouraging people from taking vaccines that should know better. It's one thing to hear it from a meme or someone who's not an expert but when it comes from someone within the field it does have weight."

She says a lack of civic responsibility is contributing to the skyrocketing death and infections rates and people need to get the jab to protect themselves and their vulnerable community.

"It's frustrating to see the level of the recklessness of people on social media sharing misinformation. People are dying at such a high rate it's frightening."  

On Saturday the Fijian Government recorded 314 new cases and eight deaths from COVID-19 - a slight decrease from the previous 398 cases in the previous 24 hours.