Vaccination count nears 12,000

More than 900 people were vaccinated on Friday, bringing the number of Samoans to have been vaccinated to 11,805, the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) has confirmed.

In a social media post online, the M.O.H. stated that a total of 6,719 males and 5,086 have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, as of 11 pm Friday; a 17 per cent increase from the previous day.

The total number of people vaccinated stood at 10,911 on Thursday, 10,070 and 9,249.

The country started with 24,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with a shelf life until the end of May. (The vaccine requires a second shot to be administered later to be effective). 

To get through the rest of the vaccines at their best, Samoa needs to vaccinate 15,600 people in just under four weeks, around 600 people a day and so far Samoa is making good progress.

For the past week, vaccinations have been administered in the Vaimauga No. 3 and No. 4 constituencies, including Maagiagi, Vini-fou, Matautu tai, Matautu uta, Tanugamanono, Papauta, Vailima, Vaoala, Malololelei, Apia, A'ai o Niue, Mulinuu and Fugalei.

Booths are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. 

Leausa also clarified that the 24,000 doses currently rolled out have an official "shelf life" of until the end of May.

"It can be used after May but won’t have the same impact as expected,” he said.

The Samoa Observer understands the next larger batch of AstraZeneca vaccines is on its way to Samoa but with freight delays its arrival date is unclear.

But it is expected sometime in late May or early June.

Only 79,000 doses have been approved for Samoa through the World Health Organisation-managed COVAX Facility programme, Leausa said.

But he noted Samoa is working to access more doses through New Zealand and Australia in order to reach its vaccination target.

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 health choices.

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