Samoa to go on two-day lockdown for vaccination

Samoa will go into a two-day lockdown next week as the Government attempts to speed up its COVID-19 mass vaccination program.

Minister of Health, Valasi Tafito Selesele confirmed the lockdown in an interview with the Samoa Observer on the sidelines of the Parliament session on Friday.

He said more details will be forthcoming when an official announcement is made by the Government.

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) put up a public notice late Wednesday advising that, “Cabinet has declared next week Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th of September as days for the COVID-19 mass vaccination.”

“And therefore the University will be closed to all, except for those providing essential services.

“The graduation that was planned for the 24th of September has been postponed to the 1st of October.”

It is believed that concerns within the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) at the fast approaching 24 September 2021 deadline for the COVID-19 vaccine, before its expiry date is the main reason behind the push for a two-day lockdown.

The last time the country underwent a full lockdown was during the 2019 measles epidemic when Government officials assisted health authorities to roll out the measles vaccine.

Earlier this week, the M.O.H. revealed that the last day for members of the eligible population to receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is 24 September.

According to the Ministry, more than 99,000 people in Samoa have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine as of 16 September.

The latest data released by the M.O.H. on Friday shows that 99,163 people have received the first dose of the vaccine which accounts for 81.4 per cent of the eligible population. Of this total 51,679 were male and 47,484 were female.

And the 50,268 Samoans as well as residents who have been fully vaccinated represent 41.2 per cent of the eligible population with 27,334 male and 22,934 female.

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