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Nuku’alofa – September 9, 2021: 10.10am (Nuku’alofa Times): Local doctors and members of the Tonga Medical Association (TMA) have come out strongly to defend the current COVID-19 vaccination program happening in the country.

In a statement issued this week the medical professionals said they are also committed to their work in serving the people of Tonga.

“Today, there are ongoing discussions about whether the COVID-19 vaccinations are beneficial or harmful for the people of Tonga. The members of the TMA wish to express that the national vaccination rollout is based on verified scientific information that we as medical professionals trust and are based on shared knowledge between other countries who have the capacity to work on years of research and development for these vaccinations,” they said in the statement.

“There have been rumours circulating social media regarding the work of doctors as no longer being committed to our work as medical servants for the people of Tonga. The members of TMA wish to state in unity that this is not the case and that we are still devoted especially during these difficult times to saving lives and providing medical care for all people who are in need.

“We wish to make a public statement for the people of Tonga, whom we are proudly dedicated to serving.

“It is and remains the duty and responsibility of our members to care for the well-being of all people who arrive at Vaiola hospital requiring medical assistance.”

The members of the Association are aware that there are shortcomings on our behalf in the work that we do. We acknowledge these limitations and as an association, we are taking many opportunities to improve our approach.

It is one of the objectives that TMA has set for its members.

This also includes the assistance to the Ministry of Health provided by the World Health Organisation to ensure that the work we do is solely for the good of the people of Tonga.

On the vaccination program, the medical professionals said that they trust that the COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and efficient to protect all of us in the case that COVID-19 enters and spreads in Tonga.

“As doctors, it is our responsibility to be prepared at all times. COVID-19 is a deadly communicable disease with new emerging variants that are heavily impacting many parts of the world today.

“The members of TMA wish to wholly encourage the people of Tonga to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations as a way of protecting each other, our families and our island Kingdom.

“We fully support the use of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine as a way of achieving this.”

They expressed their sadness at the current situation in Fiji, where over 500 people have died since March this year from the virus and thousands had fallen sick.

“As medical professionals, we constantly communicate and share experiences with our Fijian colleagues trying to cope and work in the very center of the COVID-19 outbreak currently happening in Fiji,” the statement said.

“This saddening situation is not one that we would wish to see happen in Tonga. We have no hidden agenda other than to work diligently,
support and help save lives using the knowledge and talents that God has given us and that all glory is His alone.

“We seek with humble hearts the support of the people of Tonga, that we continue to pray for one another, and that Tonga remains free of COVID-19.

“Let us unite and work together and we ask for your trust in us as doctors to be able to carry out our duties using the capacity and resources available in Tonga.”

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