DoH records low turn out for initial vaccinations for 5-11 year olds
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Just over 20 children ages 5 to 11 years old have been vaccinated for COVID-19 vaccine since vaccinations for this age group were first launched last week, says Health Department’s Dr. Faiese Talafu during Friday’s DoH news conference, where health official urged parents to get children in this age group vaccinated.
DoH launched vaccinations for this age group, which has a population of 6,200, on Mondays and Wednesday at the Tafuna Health Center as American Samoa aims for a 90% or more vaccination rate. And as of yesterday morning, the vaccination clinic for children added Fridays to their program.
Speaking at the DoH news conference streamed live on KVZK-TV Facebook page, Dr. Talafu says a total of 25 children from the ages of 5 to 11 years old were given the COVID-19 vaccine during last week’s launch of the vaccination program for children.
She says no health issues surfaced after the vaccine was given to the children, who did well and returned home with their parents. She urged parents and legal guardians to have their children in this age group vaccinated so that the vaccination rate is able to reach 90% or more.
She emphasized the importance for the parent or legal guardian to bring documents of proof that you are the parent or legal guardian of the child and to sign the consent form.
And DoH medical personnel are available at the clinic to answer questions from parents. Furthermore, medical staff also monitors children after receiving the vaccine.
Health officials who attended the news conference impressed on parents and legal guardians for this age group the importance of getting vaccinated. The latest update from DoH indicates that the vaccination clinic for 5 to 11 year olds is now operating three-days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — at the Tafuna Health Center.
DoH’s Dr. Fiona Trail pointed out that in the US more than 1 million children have received the vaccine.
“And we are still monitoring the adverse reactions, sides affects and all that,” she explained, adding that DoH is getting its data from the U.S.
She said that “we need our people, our children to be vaccinated” because even though the vaccine will not stop a person from becoming infected with the virus “it’s going to prevent you from dying from COVID-19 or prevent you from going to ICU, or being severely affected by the disease.”
“So the vaccine is to protect the people. And the people we want to protect the most are our children and also people who have medical conditions, such as asthma, dialysis, heart problems and all that,” she said. “So the vaccine has proven that it protects them from getting a severe form of the disease or dying from COVID-19.”
NOV. 18 FLIGHT FROM HONOLULU
Dr. Trail, who also oversees quarantine sites, says the Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu on Nov. 18 brought in 282. And they are split up with 212 quarantined at Tradewinds Hotel, 34 at Fatuoaiga facility, and 36 at Sadie’s by the Sea.
She said all eligible travelers are fully vaccinated and DoH staff conducted medical assessment and all travelers are in “high spirits”. Their first COVID-19 test done here was Saturday
Additionally, the American Samoa portion of the quarantine has been reduced to 7 days, after a decision by the COVID-19 Task Force.
She also shared an update on the “one-true positive” case on the Nov. 1st flight from Honolulu. She said the individual has been doing well throughout the duration of isolation and remains asymptomatic. The individual was tested after the 14-day isolation period and had a negative result and been safely released to go home.
Dr. Trail said that it’s “our hope to eventually decrease the number of quarantine days or the duration of quarantine” in American Samoa when the vaccination rate reaches the goal of 90% or more.
“So we strongly recommend to protect your children by taking them to get the COVID vaccination once they turn 5-years old. This is for their own protection from the disease and safety in case a community transmission occurs. It’s very important for this to happen,” she said.
For those ages 12 and over and not yet vaccinated, vaccination clinics are operating at the A.P. Lutali Executive Office Building in Utulei and the DYWA Gym in Tafuna.