Descriptive analysis of deaths associated with COVID-19 in Fiji, 15 April to 14 November 2021
COVID-19 deaths in Fiji
Keywords:epidemiology, COVID-19, death, Fiji
Objective: There is limited published information about deaths due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Fiji, the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific Region and low- and middle-income countries. This report descriptively analyses deaths directly associated with COVID-19 in Fiji by age group, sex, ethnicity, geographical location, vaccination status and place of death for the first 7 months of the 2021 community outbreak.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted of deaths directly associated with COVID-19 that occurred from 15 April to 14 November 2021 in Fiji. Death rates per 100 000 population were calculated by utilizing divisional population estimates obtained from medical zone nurses in 2021.
Results: A total of 1298 deaths relating to COVID-19 were reported, with 696 directly associated with COVID-19 and therefore included in the analysis. Of these, 71.1% (495) were reported from the Central Division, 54.6% (380) occurred among males, 75.6% (526) occurred among people of indigenous (iTaukei) ethnicity and 79.5% (553) occurred among people who were unvaccinated. Four deaths were classified as maternal deaths. The highest percentage of deaths occurred in those aged >=70 years (44.3%, 308), and the majority of deaths (56.6%, 394) occurred at home.
Discussion: At-risk populations for COVID-19 mortality in Fiji include males, iTaukei peoples, and older (>=70 years) and unvaccinated individuals. A high proportion of deaths occurred either at home or during the first 2 days of hospital admission, potentially indicating both a reluctance to seek medical care and a health-care system that was stressed during the peak of the outbreak.