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First dose COVID-19 vaccinations remains on hold until Feb 17

Dr. Francine Amoa (far right) with DoH staff,
2,660 are expected to return this week for their second dose

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — While a new shipment of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived on island, the Health Department says that administering the first dose — for those who have not received it — remains on hold until next week.

At last Friday’s news conference announcing the update on the 159 repatriated passengers, who all tested negative of the virus while quarantined at Tradewinds Hotel, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga announced that another shipment of COVID-19 vaccine was scheduled to arrive this past Saturday on the weekly cargo flight.

And the governor urged local residents to get their vaccines, as well as maintain preventive measures such as wearing facemasks and social distancing. This same message was echoed by Lt. Gov. Talauega Eleasalo Va’alele Ale, who is also chair of the government’s COVID-19 Task Force and the Governor’s Authorized Representative (GAR).

DoH in a health advisory issued Monday this week confirmed the new COVID-19 vaccine shipment did arrived on the Saturday cargo flight, saying that shipment brought 3,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 7,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“First dose schedule will remain on hold this week until next week Wednesday, Feb. 17th,” according to the advisory.

DoH has cancelled first doses for more than a week now, awaiting the new shipment.

For those who have received the first dose, DoH said more than 2,660 individuals are expected to return this week for their second dose. Those who have received their first dose are asked to check their vaccination card for return dates for the second dose, with the weekly schedule update on the DoH Facebook page (which is already updated as of Monday this week) or call 219 for more information.

DoH provides the following information for those getting their second dose at the DoH Tafuna Community Health Center — which will close on Monday, Feb. 15th for President’s Day holiday:

• take medication before going to the clinic — especially if you are taking blood pressure medicines;

• expect delays, eat a meal before going to the clinic. Bring a snack and drink;

• DoH is limiting patient volume per day so “we can all practice social distancing, 6 feet apart”;

• if you are getting the COVID-19 vaccine, wait 14-days before receiving any OTHER vaccines such as the influenza or the pneumonia vaccines; and

• wear clothing that is adjustable to receive the vaccine on the upper arm. For example, short loose sleeves that can expose the upper arm.

For individuals who received the first dose at LBJ Medical Center, the second shots for Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital will be administered at the Nursing Villa/tents at the LBJ mountain side parking lot, according to an LBJ announcement.

These individuals are asked to make plans to be dropped off at the vaccination site because of limited parking spaces.

Vaccination time will be from 8:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. And please check your vaccination card for the date of the second shot. Bring the card with you so your vaccination information is documented. Any questions call LBJ at 633-1222 ext. 368/369.


Several quarantine passengers have posted on social media photos or video of themselves or others on the balcony of their hotel rooms. Some local residents have observed passengers on the balcony or walking outside of their rooms. This has raised concerns from local residents but DoH said don’t be alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed if you see quarantine individuals outside on their balconies or walking in the backyard,” said DoH in the health advisory. “With 4 negative COVID tests, this allows them to take turns walking in the backyard, for physical fitness and fresh air. They will continue to maintain social distancing and wear masks.”


Families of the 159 repatriated passengers are allowed to drop off care packages at the Tradewinds Hotel between 2p.m. and 5p.m daily. Drive to the back gate — which is the side gate on the Ottoville Road — and make sure the care package is “labeled with the name of the receiver.”

According to DoH, these care packages will be searched at the gate by security personnel for banned items such as alcohol, cigarettes, pets, illegal substances and/ or weapons.


And as American Samoa gears up for more repatriation flights from the U.S, DoH reminds the community that the highest protection is to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, be prepared, stay vigilant and practice healthy habits in the community.

For example, wear facemasks whenever in public; stay 6 feet away from others; gather virtually or outdoors and get the two-dose COVID-19 for all eligible groups.

The governor has already made it mandatory since the beginning of this month to wear face masks and observe social distancing in government, private sector and organizations. The requirement also applies to aiga buses and taxis.

For any COVID-19 related information, call 219 or 633-5871.