Vaccination uptake increasing; total tops 18,000

Another 1860 people received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday as the public's increasing uptake of vaccinations brought the nation’s total count to 18,338 according to Ministry of Health figures. 

As of 14 May, 10,196 men and 8,142 women had received the COVID-19 immunisation. 

The health Ministry said that Friday was the third consecutive day on which more than one thousand people had received their vaccinations. 

As part of its ongoing mass vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health also visited United Nations House at Tuanaimato to offer staff the chance to receive their vaccinations. 

While most of the U.N. staff had already received their shots, a small number were able to receive their immunisations during the visit. 

Vaccinations are currently being administered at 19 sites at Faleata No.1 and Faleata No. 2. The vaccination sites include Falelauniu tai, Falelauniu uta, Lotopa, Sinamoga, Alafua, Moamoa tai, Moamoa fou, Tuaefu, Vaimoso, Lepea, Vailoa tai, Talimatau, Vaigaga and Siusega. 

Other fixed sites remain at the Health Centre in Matagialalua, the Samoa Tourism Authority Fale at Eleele Fou, and another two sites at Motootua. 

Samoa received its second batch of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday - a total of 28,000 doses delivered via the World Health Organisation managed COVAX facility. 

Another 27,000 doses are expected to arrive in the next four weeks or by early June, Deputy Director-General, Tagaloa Dr. Robert Thompsen said last week. 

Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines are required to ensure patients’ are afforded protection against the virus. 

The total delivery of 79,000 vaccines through the COVAX facility is expected to cover 20 per cent of the country’s eligible population.

The COVAX scheme was developed with the aim of vaccinating 20 per cent of the population of 92 poorer countries without independent access to vaccinations, with a particular focus on health workers. 

The administration of the second doses will start on 14 June, Tagaloa said. 

Tagaloa said that more fixed sites had been established on Wednesday: one at the Red Cross Headquarters in Tuanaimato; the Samoa National Provident Fund in Vaitele; and the Ah Liki Warehouse behind Samoa Commercial Bank at Vaitele.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health raised its restrictions to prevent incoming COVID-19 cases at the national border. The Government’s new regulations will bar any traveler who has not yet received their full vaccinations from entering the country. 

The interim Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.), Agafili Shem Leo, said of the thousands of people who had received their first dose, none had reported serious complications or been admitted to hospital following their jabs. 

Agafili thanked Government leaders, village councils, women’s committees, and Church ministers for their role in encouraging people to get vaccinated.  


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