Samoa to Roll Out Covid-19 Booster Shots

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Tues 11 January 2011 Apia Samoa. Samoa is expected to roll out coronavirus (covid-19) booster shots in the first quarter of this year. This was confirmed in a National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

NEOC press conference 11 Jan 2022.

Out of eligible adults, 86% of Samoa is fully vaccinated and 96% have had their first dose. Adults have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca while Pfizer was rolled out for school aged children 12-18.

Samoa’s NEOC Chairman Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo said more information would be forthcoming in relation to the booster roll-out as it becomes available. He also confirmed government plans to vaccinate children aged 5-11 years.

“We want to announce and make known that we are going to roll out a booster dose,” said Agafili.

“We will let you know the date and time, but it will be within the first quarter of this year”.

“O le tulaga taua foi lea o le tatou feiloaiga e fia faailoa atu i le mamalu o le atunuu, o lea o le a faia a tatou booster dose.”

Samoa and neighboring Pacific Island countries such as Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu have received adequate doses of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca shipped via the COVAX Facility, with the support of its development partners such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and China.

The NEOC has now set out the next phase of Samoa’s efforts to protect itself from the global pandemic that has claimed 5,513,188 lives as at 11 January 2022.

What are Others Saying About Booster

The UK National Health Services says a booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine helps improve protection from the first 2 doses of the vaccine.

“It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19”.

WHO Director 

In a statement issued last month in December 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that blanket COVID-19 vaccine booster programmes could prolong the pandemic and increase inequity.

“No country can boost its way out of the pandemic,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking in Geneva during his final press briefing for the year.

“Blanket booster programmes are likely to prolong the pandemic, rather than ending it, by diverting supply to countries that already have high levels of vaccination coverage, giving the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate,” said Tedros.

He stressed that the global priority must be on supporting countries to vaccinate 40 per cent of their populations as quickly as possible, and 70 per cent by the middle of 2022.

“It’s important to remember that the vast majority of hospitalisations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, not un-boosted people,” he said.  “And we must be very clear that the vaccines we have, remain effective against both the Delta and Omicron variants.

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There have been 311,272,358 cases of Covid-19 recorded globally since the start of the pandemic. As at 11 January 2022, there are 44,931,127 Currently Infected Patients with 44,837,463 (99.8%) in Mild Condition and 93,664 (0.2%) considered Serious or Critical.

Samoa has not recorded a community case since the start of the pandemic. There have been only three cases of repatriated citizens testing positive while in controlled isolation after arrival. The first was a sailor whose tests showed signs of his having had the virus months earlier, the second was a young boy returning from LA and the third tested positive last month.

A passenger who arrived on the 9th of December from Hawaii via LA and Fiji had tested positive on his third day in isolated quarantine.

Samoa’s Director General of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri confirmed the man had spent three weeks in isolation and has since been released after returning repeated negative tests.

“He never showed any symptoms during his time in controlled isolation,” said Leausa. “At this time, Samoa remains Covid-19 free.”

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