Vaccination count tops 40,000

The total number of people in the country who have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine has exceeded 40,000 according to the latest Ministry of Health data.

In a statement issued by the M.O.H on Saturday morning, the Ministry advised of Samoa’s total vaccination count currently stood at 40,113; the majority of people who have received the vaccine being males. 

As of the 11 of June 2021, there have been 22,299 males and 17,814 females who have been vaccinated.

The mass vaccinations programme will continue its journey on Monday, when it will move to Aana Alofi 3 and Aana Alofi 4, in villages such as Nofoalii, Leulumoega, Fasitoo tai, Vailuutai, Faleatiu and Satapuala from Monday 14 June to Friday 18 June.

Samoa started the rollout after receiving 24,000 doses through the World Health Organisation-organised COVAX facility. The caretaker Government took receipt of them in April.

Samoa has since received its second batch of 28,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with the expectation to kick off the second shot rollout on Monday, 14 June.   

The total assistance of 79,000 vaccines comes courtesy of the COVAX Facility which is expected to cover 20 per cent of the country's eligible population. The vaccine requires a second shot to be administered 8-12 weeks after the first, in order for a person to be fully protected.

The mass rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the nation’s villages began in late April.

Those who will not be vaccinated include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who are bedridden, youth less than 18 years of age and those over 85 years old (optional).

The list also prohibits those with a high fever (above or equal to 38 degrees); weak immune systems, including those who have been on steroids for a long time; those receiving active cancer treatment; people with bleeding disorders, and a known history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines including skin rash, swelling of the throat and eyes and breathing difficulties.

COVAX is a worldwide initiative designed to ensure that lesser developed countries can gain access to the vaccine. So far, a total of 165 countries have signed up for access. 

This week the world's wealthiest democracies, the Group of Seven nations, collectively undertook to share at least one billion coronavirus shots. The United Kingdom's Prime Minister on Thursday local time. About half of the vaccines are slated to come from America while the United Kingdom itself will provide 100 million doses. Speaking at the summit, American President Joe Biden called for speeding up the vaccination rollout globally in order to put an end to the global pandemic which first emerged at the end of 2019. 

Samoa has enforced strict border controls and placed the country under a state of emergency in response to its potential spread since March of last year. 

Australia and UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) had recently announced a partnership to finance the purchase of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

The Australian Government had also recently contributed an additional AUD$50 million ($100 million) to the COVAX Facility in a bid to boost equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide including Samoa.

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