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Samoa on lockdown Day 2: Anti-vaccination campaign “nonsense”, roads closure until 7pm

The Government has dismissed an online and social media campaign against vaccination as “nonsense” as it moves to improve Samoa’s woeful immunisation statistics. 

The response from the Government comes following media reports that U.S. anti-vaccination groups have organised a “social media blitz inundating the Samoan government's online pages with dire warnings about vaccinations.”

But a statement issued by the Press Secretariat quoting the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Afamasaga Rico Tupai, clearly identified the Government’s position.

“As Government starts the Mass Vaccination Campaign mobilizing hundreds of its public servants to transport residents to the Fixed Sites and Mobile Clinics for their injections, it is not wasting its valuable time to the nonsense on Social Media posted by anti-vaccination,” Afamasaga said.

“The priority by Government is to ensure that all residents are vaccinated at all costs.”

On Thursday, the Police arrested Edwin Tamasese, Samoa’s most outspoken anti-vaccination activist, following a formal complaint from a concerned member of the public.

“The allegation is that the individual, publicly stated with reference to the current vaccination drive "I'll be here to mop up your mess. Enjoy your killing spree."

The Attorney General said Mr. Tamasese “had previously been warned by the Police.”

His bail was opposed for risk of reoffending and he is kept in custody until the first available Court date.

“We reiterate that while the goal is to keep the peace, we will advise police to act when we have no choice."

On the ground, Friday is the second day of the complete lockdown as the Government continues the mass vaccination campaign.

The closing hours for all public roads have been extended until 7pm this evening.

What you need to know:

  • All fixed vaccination sites (except for hospitals) are closed. Only mobile units, going door to door will be administering vaccinations.
  • Please stay at home to ensure a mobile unit can vaccinate your entire household.
  • Place a red tie or flag outside your home if you HAVE NOT been vaccinated and a mobile unit will know to come. This will not be the only reason they will stop at your home.
  • Utilities and emergency services to remain open: water, power, fire and emergency, police, security, shopping, civil aviation and the hospitals and morgues and petrol stations.
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