23 November 2021 Upolu, Samoa. Over 100,000 doses of Samoa’s AstraZeneca vaccine supply will expire on the 12th of November 2021. That date is exactly seven weeks from the 2-day lockdown currently underway.
The advisable period between first and second doses as stated by Health Director Leausa Take Naseri during media updates, is 8-12 weeks.
Dr Baoping Yang, Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Samoa says this two-day mass vaccination campaign is crucial for Samoa to ensure batches of vaccine such as those donated by Japan, are not wasted.
“There are over 100,000 doses of this vaccine from Japan and as you can see, the expiry date is the 12th of November,” said Mr. Yang.
Mr Yang was taking a drive around Upolu, visiting the various vaccination centres and consulting with health care workers.
“It is wonderful to see communities get behind the vaccination programme.. its important for Samoa to not miss the opportunity to utilise these vaccine batches before their expiry date on the 12th of November,” he added.
Had the lockdown been carried out a week ago, it would have been within the 8 week period for those whose first doses are being administered.
Across from the Leauvaa-Tai Catholic Church, the church hall was set up by the Women’s Committee for a vaccination centre.
Mr Yang took the opportunity to chat with businesswoman and Chair of Leauvaa Women’s Committee, Peseta Silia Ah Leong.
The Women’s Committee of the Leauvaa-Tai Catholic Church said they had come in early to prepare their hall to be used as a vaccination centre when they were contacted by authorities last night.
Peseta is the wife of the district’s Member of Parliament and former Cabinet Minister Hon Sala Fata Pinati. She said she was contacted as the Chair of the Women’s Committee, and given a list identifying about 700 people from the wider constituency that needed either the first or second dose.
“We have been sending vehicles to bring people from their homes. I think this is a much better way for them, to make sure everyone is immunised,” said Peseta.
At about 11am Thursday morning, they had already located and ticked off 100 people from their village of Leauvaa-Tai.
Samoa’s two day lockdown aims to achieve herd immunity with a target of 99% of the eligible population being fully vaccinated.