As we walk through the courtyard, students on their way to class hold up their pinky fingers stained with purple ink. This gesture, usually followed by a smile, has become an island-wide symbol of being vaccinated against typhoid. I show my inked pinky in return.
It is 9:30 AM on a Thursday at St. Mary’s Primary School in Labasa. Today is the third day of a mass vaccination campaign in the Northern Division of Fiji, and for the next eight weeks, teams of public health workers will travel across Vanua Levu and surrounding islands to administer the typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) to nearly 135,000 people.