The Samoa Government is proceeding with its mass vaccination carried out by the Ministry of Health on Thursday starting with highly populated areas such as Vaimauga No. 1 district.
This is for the island of Upolu.
The immunization teams will use the school halls in the villages as vaccination sites, starting from Luatuanu’u, Lauli’i, and Fagali’i.
Acting Director-General Tagaloa Dr. Robert made the announcement during an online press conference with the media yesterday.
The mass vaccination will include booster shots for those 18 and above; the first doses of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for the 5–11 year-olds and the second doses for the 11–17 age group.
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa announced on Monday night more than 70,000 Pfizer booster shots will be used in the mass vaccination.
Tagaloa explained the Pfizer vaccine cannot be mobilized, without the proper cold chain. Adding that this specific vaccine, once it’s mixed it has to be administered immediately.
The Acting Director-General said this initiative will need the assistance of the Village Representatives in terms of the elderly population, in getting them to the vaccination site.
“Otherwise there are also the drive-thru sites for members of the public that are unable to walk,” said Tagaloa.
Adding the vaccination drive-thru sites are located at the EPI blue building at the hospital, the Credentialing building across from the NKF, and the Government building at Matagialalua.
He said the Ministry will also consider using Church Halls depending on the vicinity and in between villages.
The vaccination will start from Vaimauga and will head towards the West Side, Faleata, Sagaga, all the way to A’ana and Falelatai heading to the eastern part of the island until its completed and they hope this will take up to six weeks.
For Savai’i, their vaccine rollout will follow the strategy used for Upolu, in terms of facilities such as school halls but they are keener on using the drive-thru and the plans they submitted is evident in their rollout it should be completed within 2-3 weeks.
This will free up more health workers to assist with the vaccination rollout in Upolu, but that will also depend on the capacity of the nurses available.
Regarding the Pfizer vaccine for the second doses for children 5-11, it will arrive around the 20 of April 2022 and the public will be informed accordingly but it’s certainly the school halls will be used as vaccination sites.