Government keen to vaccinate all citizens

The Government is committed to ensuring that the country's total population is fully immunised against measles. 

With a population of over 197,000 people, more than 179,000 have already been vaccinated since December 7, 2019.

More than 143,000 of Samoa’s population were already vaccinated before the two-day government shutdown last Thursday and Friday.

But the Disaster Management Office Head currently working with the National Emergency Operation Center, Amituana’i Lameko Simanu, said the final the figures are likely to change as other factors are considered and the data is processed.

“The government will not rest we will continue to ensure that we have exhausted and explored all opportunity to have the risk groups vaccinated," Amituana’i said, in response to an email query by the Samoa Observer.

“If and when the proclamation is lifted there will be a post vaccination program that will continue to educate our people and get the very few that have not been vaccinated included in our vaccination campaign.”

With that being said, Amituanai said the new percentage of the overall national immunisation coverage is good news for the country.

“The good news is that the coverage has improved a lot before the proclamation and during the campaign for the targeted age groups.

“The vaccine takes 10 to 14 days to be effective but already we have noticed some promising indication in the number of cases against their onset dates have steadily declined. 

“We expect to see in the next 14 days the full effect of the campaign.”

Asked for an update on the population in Savai'i already vaccinated, Amituana’i said about 81 per cent of the big island's residents have been inoculated since December 7.

“There is still work being done to clean up the data, to ensure other factors such as migration, deaths, quota etc. do not influence coverage. 

“The target is based on the 2016 census and a lot has changed since then.”

The death toll from the measles epidemic in Samoa now stands at 71 after a death in the last 48 hours, most of the deceased young children. 

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