COVID-19 mass vaccination starts on Monday

The caretaker Government’s COVID-19 mass vaccination program rollout will start on Monday, seven days after the country’s front liners were administered with AstraZeneca.

Ministry of Health Director General Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said to date 1979 front liners were administered the vaccine after caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and his Health Minister Faimalotoa Kika Stowers took the jab last weekend.

He said the vaccination will now be rolled out to the villages starting with communities in the Apia urban area.

“They will start from Apia Urban area to Lauli’i and Leauva’a and north west Upolu up to Vailu’utai and Faleatiu,” he said.

According to Leausa, Vaimuaga No.1 and No.2 will start next week with health officials taking the lead in the program and will be assisted by security and have a driver on site. 

Assistant Chief Executive Officers of Government Ministries have also been instructed to be at the various vaccination sites. 

“We also urge the C.E.O. they should assist with the mass vaccinations within their respective villages to assure the operation is smooth and successful,” Leausa added.

The officials anticipate that after the first zone is completed, a different team will be assigned to the second zone. 

National Emergency Operations Center Interim Chairman Agafili Shem Leo, speaking during a press conference recently, assured the public that the Government has secured enough COVID-19 vaccines for the whole country to be able to complete the mass vaccination program. 

“There is no need to panic or rush, rest assured we have enough vaccine injections for everyone,” Agafili said.  

“Systems in place will also ensure that you can receive the vaccines from any of the teams to be dispatched to the public if you missed it due to unforeseen situations.”

According to a statement issued by the Government Press Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade C.E.O. Peseta Noumea Simi is the Committee Chair that is leading the negotiations with Samoa’s development partners and the international community though it is the U.N.I.C.E.F. and the W.H.O. who secured the vaccines. 

There are reports that the negotiations for additional vaccines have been successful and the Disaster Advisory Committee has been notified.

The New Zealand government has also offered to provide vaccines to complete the nationwide program for both coronavirus doses with the governments of Australia, Japan and China together with the United Nations have also pledged continued assistance.

Samoa is one of 92 countries worldwide including Pacific Forum countries to receive COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX Facility.

And while taking the vaccination is currently voluntary, N.E.O.C. Interim Chairman Agafili urged the public to think carefully about their choices before deciding. 

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