People's safety at heart of our response: Fiame

Support from abroad is instrumental in accessing sufficient vaccines for Samoa, says Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa as part of her comments during the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting.

The conference was held virtually on 17 September where she also gave a brief on Samoa's progress in accessing COVID-19 vaccines.

“For Samoa, despite the economic challenges due to the COVID19 border lockdowns; the safety of our people is at the heart of our response,” Fiame said in her statement.

“While we maintain vigilance in managing our closed borders, high priority was given to securing vaccines.

“The support of the COVAX Facility; our development partners contributing to dose sharing arrangements especially Australia, New Zealand and Japan; the UN family and regional organisations, were all instrumental in Samoa accessing sufficient vaccines to cover its total eligible population."

In August, the Government of Japan had provided 112,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Samoa through the COVAX Facility to strengthen Samoa’s vaccination rollout.

According to Fiame, discussions continue with New Zealand to secure relevant vaccines for the country's population deemed ineligible.

The Pfizer vaccine will soon arrive in Samoa with the assistance of the New Zealand Government at the end of October, which will then enable the 12 to 17 age group to be vaccinated.

“To date, 80 per cent of the population have received the first dose of AstraZeneca, while only 45% are fully vaccinated,” she said.

“We welcome the 2021 Commonwealth Health Ministers Statement and encourage the effective implementation of the proposed solutions. Priority for Samoa from these outcomes include effective immunisation drives; strengthening health systems, universal health care coverage and investing in digital technology.”

Recent figures issued by the Ministry of Health (M.O.H) in Samoa show that the amount of those who have received the first dose of the vaccine nears 100,000.

99,163 people in the country have received the first dose of the vaccine and of that number, 51,679 are male while 47,484 are female.

50,268 people in the country have been fully vaccinated and of that number 27,334 are male while 22,934 are female.

The M.O.H has also stated that Friday 24 of September will be the last day to administer the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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