Savaii vaccines soar after village outreach

Weekly vaccinations in Savaii have up to tripled after the big island embraced a mass vaccination campaign that included mobile village outreach vaccination clinics in villages that started on Monday.

A total of 10,451 people have been vaccinated on the island since the campaign started, the National Emergency Operation Center (N.O.E.C.) confirmed on Thursday afternoon. 

A total of 6,000 people had been vaccinated already in Savai'i in the fortnight before the campaign started, the Associate Minister of Health, Tofa Li'o Foleni, confirmed in an interview with the Samoa Observer this month. 

The Associate Minister referred questions to N.O.E.C. on Thursday but statistics indicate the campaign has been led to a major vaccine rise in only five days, compared to an averaged weekly rate of 3,000 patients in the previous fortnight. 

In Savaii, vaccinations are usually on administered at five main vaccination sites. 

But Government medical teams are now also making trips around the island carrying out community outreach in the rural areas to make sure people can get vaccinated despite transport issues in rural populations and to avoid hospital overcrowding. 

The community clinics are run daily from Monday to Friday.  

Moana Sauaso, a father from Faletagaloa Safune was happy that a mobile clinic was held at their village on Thursday:

“Since the outbreak, we have been keeping the children at home," he said. 

“We took our children one time to Safotu to get vaccinated but they were waiting for supplies from Apia, so we came home."

“But we were happy when we were informed about this. We are making good use of the service made available for everyone in the village and country.”

Moana said, a special service will be conducted at the village of Safune on Sunday where the two denominations in the village, Methodist and Congregational Christian Church of Samoa will worship together and open fasting for Samoa.

Moana also express his gratitude to the hard working  doctors, nurses and the government of Samoa for doing their best to stop the spread of measles. 

“I know it’s not easy,” he said.

“I've been following the updates by watching the news and listening to the radio and it’s sad that this disease has taken away so many lives already.

“I thank the people working day and night to help our people who have been affected and also to avoid the spread of measles. 

“Losing a loved one is something we all don’t want to experience and right now we just have to come together and support whatever measures that have been put in place by the Ministry and the government.

“ We are all hoping and praying for a better tomorrow for our country.” 

On Monday, Su’emalo Tofa from Saipipi said a lot of people turned up to get vaccinated at their village:

“It's so good that the government have this idea for nurses and doctors to come out in the villages and make sure everyone gets their shots to protect them from measles. 

“Once we were informed, we had to make good use of the opportunity and take our children to make sure there shots are up to date. 

“It’s sad to see so many young ones taken away as a result of this disease, therefore we need to listen and obey the government’s effort to stop the disease from spreading in the country.”

Savaii was the centre of a vaccine-related tragedy which preceded a major fall in vaccination rates nationwide, following the death of two one-year-old babies, after they were administered a measles vaccine that a Court found was negligently prepared with anesthetic. Two nurses were jailed were jailed for five years in August this year.

In Savai'i, an isolation intensive care unit has been set up at Vaipouli Headquarters for patients suspected to have measles, which was renovated and replenished with supplies since the declaration of an Epidemic last month. 

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