Village leaders partner with vaccinators

Village leaders and vaccination teams were seen to have been working closely with communities to push for the two-day national COVID-19 mass vaccination program on Thursday.

The Government approved a mass vaccination campaign spearheaded by the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) to boost immunisation coverage against the COVID-19 to 99 per cent of Samoa’s eligible population. 

A total of 150 vaccination teams took part in the campaign with more than 80 teams in Upolu while 63 teams have been allocated specifically for the Upolu urban area. 

The teams have been working closely with the communities to implement this campaign through the support and guidance by the Government village women and men representatives to ensure that every eligible household gets vaccinated. 

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 their vaccination status and administering the drug to those who were eligible.    

The Health Ministry has also advised the public to help the vaccination teams to identify the individuals and families who have not been vaccinated, by tying a piece of red cloth or a red flag in front of their residences. 

While some vaccination teams were allocated to every village and went directly to the residences of the eligible population, some villages setup a fixed site for villagers to be vaccinated.

One of these villages is Tufulele, where more than 20 people were seen undergoing their COVID-19 vaccine jab at one the village buildings.

According to the village mayor of Tufulele, Tomaimano Siaosi Pita, before the lockdown, they have been informing their villagers about the mass vaccination program. 

“We have been spreading the word about getting vaccinated even as late at last night [Wednesday],” he told the Samoa Observer.

“At around 7am our villagers have already gathered at this village building awaiting officials which arrived around 8am and started vaccinating our people.

“The work spearheaded by Government officials will be a lot difficult without the help from village councils and chiefs.”

He added that another method they used was, “we will fine any person in our village that has been found or discovered to have not been vaccinated after this two-day lockdown.”

“For our village, we have inland roads which go really far where some of our people reside, this has led to some of our cars being used to transport people who want to get vaccinated but there were those who were strong enough to walk. 

“As a village, we support the Government’s programme or campaign to get vaccinated in order to protect our country from COVID-19.   

“But even before the two-day mass vaccination, we have always discussed the importance of getting vaccinated in our village meetings.”

However, he said that, they have just found out that the last day for the first dose came so soon.

The 52-year-old said that our country should depend on God for his guidance because Samoa is founded on God.

“I also take this opportunity to highlight the importance of differentiating from facts and misinformation; we have health officials and police to listen to for factual advice and information," he said.

“Our village population is more than 800 people but many have been vaccinated while some due to some illnesses that led to them not being able to get vaccinated.” 

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