Full vaccination numbers increase
More than 73,000 Samoans have now been fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine as Samoa continues to remain free of the coronavirus.
Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) data released recently showed more than 115,000 of the eligible population have received their first dose of the vaccine as of 13 October 2021.
The latest released by the Ministry showed that 115,354 people have received the first dose accounting for 94.6 per cent of the eligible population and of this total 59,628 are male with 55,726 female.
Overall a total of 73,310 citizens and residents have been fully vaccinated which represents 60.1 per cent of the eligible population with 38,974 male and 34,336 female.
The M.O.H. said in a statement that it is fortunate that Samoa has remained COVID-19 free, however, it is not known how long this can continue.
“[The] vaccination of our population against COVID-19 will provide good protection against the disease that is now endemic throughout the world," reads the Ministry's statement.
“The Ministry of Health is currently preparing its COVID-19 vaccination roll-out plan for children aged 12 years to 17 years."
The vaccine rollout program by the M.O.H. will be the Pfizer vaccine called “Cominarty”, which has been approved for use for children aged 12 years and upwards. Cominarty has been administered to millions of people around the world and has been proven safe and effective, according to the Ministry.
In addition, the Ministry says that more information will be provided about the Cominarty vaccine and eligible population through the various media platforms as well as ongoing community engagement activities.
The Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said during his Ministry's awareness programme that the Pfizer vaccine was the first to pass the pre-qualification phase set by the World Health Organisation.
He explained that in some cases people were vaccinated and had to wait three or four weeks between the first and second doses to have better protection against the virus.
However, Leausa said that there were some countries that banned the administration of the Pfizer vaccine for those aged under 40 or 30.
“But there are countries that the only vaccine they are using is Pfizer such as New Zealand,” he said during the Ministry of Health's weekly Samoa Maloloina programme.
“Some countries are also using the Pfizer vaccine to vaccinate those aged 12.”
The Pfizer vaccines are donated by the New Zealand government and are expected to arrive in the country this weekend.
Leausa also highlighted that the M.O.H. has already started preparations for the Pfizer vaccine through training as well as better prepare their team in case symptoms occur in relation to the vaccine to avoid the loss of lives.
The health authorities will use the electoral districts division plan to roll out the vaccines but using schools within the districts so as not to disrupt the children especially during the examination period.
“We have started distributing papers with information to schools for parents to be well informed on everything and for them to sign it to avoid issues such as our teams coming to conduct the vaccinations while parents stop the process altogether.”
He explained that after the children are vaccinated they will be getting vaccination cards so that when they get their second dose, they will bring it as proof of vaccination.
He also mentioned that previously a law was passed that made it mandatory for students to be enrolled with a comprehensive vaccination record.
The National Emergency Operation Centre revealed in a previous press conference that they are planning to roll out the vaccine in schools before the long Christmas holiday and will continue with its the vaccine campaign up to next year.
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