Campaign targeting 99 per cent vaccination rate
The Ministry of Health has issued a public notice instructing village residents to stay at home on Thursday and Friday as roving Ministry of Health teams vaccinate every eligible person in each household.
The “National COVID-19 Mass Vaccination” notice issued on Sunday afternoon is signed by the Ministry of Health’s (M.O.H.) Director-General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.
The two-day campaign seeks to boost immunisation coverage against the COVID-19 virus to 99 per cent of the eligible population, the notice explains.
As of Friday, 16 September, 99,163 people or 84.4 per cent or of the eligible population has received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
But less than half, 41.2 per cent (50,268 people) of the country's eligible population are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, according to M.O.H data.
“This notice hereby informs the public of Samoa that our country will be conducting a COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign for all those who have not yet received their vaccination,” the statement signed by Leausa says.
“The purpose of the two-day mass campaign is to boost coverage so we can achieve a 99 per cent vaccinated population, to protect our families, communities and country.”.
The campaign will be carried out on Thursday, 23 September, 2021 and Friday, 24 September, 2021.
“The Ministry of Health Vaccination teams will be working closely with the communities to implement this campaign through the support and guidance of the district hospitals and the Government’s village women and men representatives to ensure that every eligible household gets vaccinated,” the notice states.
“The vaccination teams will be allocated in every village and will go directly to the residences.
“All members of the public are advised to remain at home including those who are staying at hotels during the vaccination so that the teams can conduct their work in checking vaccination status and administering vaccines to those eligible.”
Fixed vaccination sites will be also available on Thursday and Friday at all District Hospitals including the Tuasivi Hospital and Health Credentialing Centre at Moto’otua.
The vaccine is optional for people over 85 years of age.
People aged 18 years and older and are in good health are generally eligible for the vaccination.
But the campaign will also seek to target people most at risk of suffering severe complications if they contract COVID-19.
The high risk groups include people with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory illnesses, H.I.V., cancer, kidney diseases, tuberculosis and rheumatic heart disease and mothers who are more than eight weeks postnatal.
Those who will be excluded from the mass vaccination campaign are pregnant mothers; mothers who are less than eight weeks postnatal; people who are bedridden or those who have a weak immune system including people who have been on steroids for a long time and those on active cancer treatment
Additional groups excluded from the vaccinations are people with clotting disorders and those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines that have previously caused complications such as rashes, swelling of the throat and eyes, or breathing difficulties.
People with a fever (above 38 degrees) or are very sick on Thursday and Friday will also be exempt.
Children under 18 years of age and people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or those not yet due for their second dose will also not be targeted in the campaign.
(The second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is given between eight to 12 weeks weeks after the first dose.)
“When preparing to get vaccinated it is important to have a good meal and drink plenty of water before getting vaccinated. Make sure that you give the vaccinator all the details about your health conditions, history of any allergies, medicines you are taking or took recently on the day of the vaccination, history of bleeding disorder and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding,” the Ministry’s notice states.
“Vaccinators will wait and observe you and others vaccinated in your household for at least 20 minutes after vaccination. There may be some possible and common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine which include pain or swelling at the injection site, tiredness, chills, fever or headache.
“[The] majority of people do not have any side effects and if you have pain or fever, you can take over-the-counter Panadol, drink plenty of fluids and rest. These side effects should go away in a few days on their own.”
The Health Ministry said that 24 September will be the last day on which people can receive their first dose of the AstraZeneca first dose.
“We request the support of everyone so that Samoa remains safe from COVID-19,” the Ministry said.
For more information, members of the public are advised to contact the Ministry of Health Call Centre at (685) 800-6440 or the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.) Call Centre at 997. Information can also be requested on the M.O.H. Facebook page @healthsamoa.