Vaccinations pass 40,000 mark

The vaccination of men and women in Samoa with the AstraZeneca vaccine has gone over the 40,000 mark with males still leading females in voluntary vaccination.

The Ministry of Health in a post on its official Facebook page on Monday advised that a total of 40,230 people have been vaccinated since the mass vaccination programme kicked off in April this year.

Out of the 40,230 people vaccinated a total of 22,311 were males and 17,919 were female.

The latest figure confirms that 117 more people have stepped forward to be vaccinated since the Ministry’s last update showed that only 40,113 got inoculated.

The mass vaccination programme continued on Monday and moved to Aana Alofi 3 and Aana Alofi 4, specifically in villages such as Nofoalii, Leulumoega, Fasitoo tai, Vailuutai, Faleatiu and Satapuala from Monday 14 June to Friday 18 June.

Samoa started its vaccination rollout after receiving 24,000 doses through the World Health Organisation-organised COVAX Facility with the caretaker Government taking receipt of them in April.

The country 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.

A total assistance of 79,000 vaccines which comes courtesy of the COVAX Facility 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.

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 with the Australian government also recently contributing an additional AU$50 million to the Facility in a bid to boost equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide including Samoa.

Australia and UNICEF recently announced a partnership to finance the purchase of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

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