Prime Minister Announces Extended Opening Hours and Mass Booster Vaccination Campaign

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Monday 28 March 2022, Apia Samoa.  A shipment of 70,000 Pfizer vaccinations will arrive into Samoa tomorrow, Tuesday 29th March 2022. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa in a special announcement Monday evening.

The 70,000 Pfizer vaccinations will allow Samoa to roll out a mass booster campaign for adults over 18, and complete the vaccinations for children.

The Prime Minster said the mass vaccination of booster doses will be conducted for Upolu on Thursday this week, and on Friday for Savaii.

In rolling out this vaccination plan, the Prime Minister said Cabinet is mindful of the capacity of frontline workers given the increasing numbers of those who have tested positive and are being isolated. “Allowing our frontline workers space to recuperate, and to roster their teams, with assistance with the health private sector will ensure continuity of our national covid-19 response, as well as commitment to other equally important health services..”

The Prime Minister said different sectors of the economy, including the private sector and the community, to finalise their response plans going forward to reflect the new norm of living with covid-19 and identifying the best ways to move forward with the gradual opening of borders.

The Prime Minister also confirmed the national lockdown will continue to midnight Tuesday 5th April as previously announced, however, the exempt times have been considerably extended to now allow opening of essential services from 6am to 4pm.  A mad rush on Saturday saw crowds of people panic shopping, and queueing at money transfers, banks, shops, pharmacies and petrol stations.

Exempt days are now: Tuesday 29th March, Thursday 31st March, Saturday 2nd April and Tuesday 5th April – from 6am to 4pm.

“With the rapid surge of new infections, our aim is to slow down transmissions and to drive our vaccination to achieve the targeted coverage required for herd immunity,” said Fiame.

“It is clear from clinical evidence that chances of developing acute symptoms of or likely death from covid-19 will be minimal with complete vaccination and a booster dose.”

The Prime Minister said the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Samoa makes it crucial for all to get maximum protection by completing all vaccinations including the booster dose.

The easing of restrictions includes sailings between Upolu and Savaii during the exemption days, as well as the re-opening of the weekly sailing to American Samoa.

“We thank you for continuing to work closely with the government and for all your prayers in these tough times,” concluded the Prime Minister. “God Bless Samoa.”