COVID-19 vaccinations projected to begin in February
COVID-19 vaccines are expected to arrive in Samoa as early as February and the rollout is estimated to follow soon after, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegoi says.
Speaking during his weekly programme on Wednesday with TV3, Tuilaepa said the first to be injected with the vaccine are the frontline workers before the rest of the nation.
"We expect a portion of vaccines intended for Samoa to arrive next month and we will start with those at our borders ensuring our security," he said.
"This is very good news for Samoa, it is very good news for Samoa that the lifeboat is very near. And may God continue his protection over Samoa until then."
He also revealed that, in a similar fashion to the measles epidemic, the Government will attempt another two day shut down to ensure all have been vaccinated and protected against the virus.
This was initially revealed by the Ministry of Health Director General, Leausa Take Naseri a few hours later who said preparations have begun for the arrival of the vaccines.
"I believe we will start with those who work at the borders and those who are directly involved in keeping our economy moving so that it may not stop, essential agencies and the elderly," he said in a National Emergency Operation Centre press conference.
"As we see the variant right now, it does not mark who is old and who is young, it's hitting everyone. This is a worry for us because now we are thinking that everyone should be vaccinated, but it is not recommended for 18 and under to be vaccinated in many countries."
Tuilaepa assured that relevant agencies and Ministries remains vigilant in the measures taken for the Samoa regardless of the developments
He acknowledged the government of Australia for their contribution of close to $10 million (AUD$4million) ensuring that Samoa is protected from the virus through the Covid Access Initiative for the Pacific, apart from their AUD $27 million contribution into other developments in the country plus their AUD$80 million in the COVAX facility.