Patients turned away; vaccination plan unfinalised

The Samoa Red Cross Society turned away about 200 people on Tuesday who expected to be vaccinated after the Ministry of Health said their programme for a mass vaccination programme was yet to be finalised. 

According to the S.R.C.S. Secretary General, Namulauulu Tautala Maualaivao, a temporary vaccination tent set up at their Tuanaimato base was on Tuesday morning lined with people expecting vaccines, which were to be administered by Ministry staff. 

“We had a total of up to over 200 people who were here in the morning and people are still coming but we had to send them away,” the Secretary General said. 

According to a National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) statement, the Ministry’s mass vaccination campaign is not yet finalised.

 “The confirmed dates for implementing the Mass Vaccination Plan is forthcoming,” the statement said. 

The public have been advised that health facilities are still operational for vaccination.

But the Samoa Family Health Association recently updated the public that measles, mumps and rubella vaccination is now available at their headquarters in Moto'otua, starting Tuesday.

The Red Cross Society tent was one of the centres for helping to dispense vaccinations according to a notice out by N.E.O.C. earlier this week.

The S.R.C.S. has also set up an initiative to have First Aid volunteers stationed at each of the vaccination sites to assist in case of the need for further assistance. 

“We don’t handle the vaccinations, but we tell them that we can also reach out through our International Red Cross so if they need more vaccinators, we can just call our officers around the region to come help,” Namulauulu said. 

“If they need it, otherwise, it’s Samoa’s emergency and it’s under the Ministry’s leadership.”

Namulauulu says the S.R.C.S. are very eager to help but the final say comes from the Ministry: “They have to say yes or no”

“But we can support them in that area.”

S.R.C.S. Health Officer Aiolupotea Goretti Wulf said this is also a chance to increase awareness of the importance of hygiene to those coming in for vaccinations. 

Currently S.R.C.S. has a number of 30 volunteers working and are urging for another 50 of their volunteers around Samoa to assist with the workload.

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