Head of State, Masiofo receive vaccinations

The Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualuavi II and Masiofo Faamausili Leinafo Tuimalealiifano received their first doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

They visited the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) clinic in the morning, the Samoa Observer was told, and were in good spirits. His Highness Tuimalealiifano has been approached for comment via his office.

 Nearly 70 public servants and heads of essential work offices have also been invited to get their first dose of the vaccine this week.

They are the Disaster Advisory Committee and National Emergency Operations Centre membership, which includes the chief executive officers of all the government ministries, public enterprises and several private and non-profit organisations, totalling 63 individuals. 

Police Commissioner Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, and C.E.O. of the Ministry of Finance Leasiosiofaasisina Oscar Malielegaoi were seen at the vaccination site too, happy to get their shots.

Inside the W.H.O. downstairs clinic, the atmosphere was relaxed on Tuesday morning.

Nurses checked people in calmly, asking for medical history and personal information, and the patients were entered into the records electronically and booked in for a second visit to get their final vaccine dose, scheduled for mid-June.

Samoa started the vaccine rollout on Sunday with 24,000 doses of the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccines, widely regarded as a safe and effective vaccine.

It is especially useful in countries like Samoa because it can be stored in normal vaccine fridges, rather than in the sub-zero freezers required for other COVID-19 vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegoi was among the very first to be vaccinated, in a private session with health staff on Sunday afternoon.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator Dr. Simona Marinescu confirmed the doses expire on Monday 31 May. 

In this context, Samoa will vaccinate all its frontline and healthcare workers first, and then open up to anyone else aged 18 and over who wants to be immunised.

They will get just one dose each for now, and after 12 weeks be invited to receive their second dose of the two-shot vaccine.

That second dose has already been scheduled, with patients leaving the clinic with a date card. The Samoa Observer understands patients will also be emailed a reminder of their appointment.

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