Mass vax drive extended to two days for Tutuila’s districts
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — More than 70 children ages 5 to 11 years old have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while the Health Department along with its partners are preparing to launch the mass COVID-19 vaccination for schools and villages on Tutuila island during the first-three weeks of December.
The mass vaccination was the main topic of the DoH news conference last Friday, where health officials revealed the vaccine drive, will now be two-days, for each of the three designated districts on Tutuila.
DoH pharmacist, Dr. Francine Amoa — who oversees the vaccination campaign drive — explained that the mass vaccination drive is focused on reaching the 90% or over vaccinated rate. And it’s now going on 12 months since vaccinations started — but so far at the time of the news conference — only 67% of American Samoa has been fully vaccinated.
She first provided an update on the vaccination for children ages 5 to 11, which she says started about two weeks ago. And as of last Friday morning, a little over 70 children in this age group have received the first-shot. Additionally, no adverse health affects were observed in this age group after the shots were administered.
The COVID-19 Task Force announced early last week that the mass vaccination drive will be the first-three Wednesdays of December with one-day set for Central, West and East districts.
But an updated presentation during the DoH news conference shows the new plan calls for two-days for each district, with the first day targeting schools and the second day for villages.
Under the new vaccination drive schedule: Central district vaccination is Dec. 1st and Dec. 2nd; West District on Dec. 8th and Dec. 9th while the East District on Dec. 15th and Dec. 16th. A majority of the vaccination sites are schools.
While the vaccination schedule shows specific dates for students for vaccinations on school campuses, DoH says that senior citizens and others who live near a school can get their shots at the school site as well. For example, Siliaga Elementary School in Aoloau is one of the sites for the Central District, so residents of Aoloau and Aasu living near this school can get their shots at the elementary school.
DoH has also set up informational meetings with parents and legal guardians for students. For the Central district the meetings will be today, Nov. 29th, at DYWA gym in Tafuna and tomorrow, Nov. 30th at Manumalo Academy Gym.
For the Western district meetings: Dec. 6th at Fa’asao Marist High School campus and Dec. 7th at Leone Catholic Hall. For the Eastern District meetings: Dec. 13th at DYWA gym at Pago Pago and Dec. 14th at Fagaitua High School campus
All meetings start at 5p.m. and during these events, DoH will explain the vaccination plan, dates and times at the respective schools and the needed documents to be signed by parents in order for their children to be vaccinated. It will also be explained at the time the reason behind the vaccination drive and medical staff will be available to answer questions from parents and legal guardians.
It was emphasized by DoH officials during the news conference the importance of a parent/legal guardian to be present in order for their child to get vaccinated. However, if the parent/legal guardian is unable to make it on the date of the designated school vaccination, DoH officials say children can be taken to the Tafuna Community Health Center for the vaccination shot.
Additionally, DoH will open its clinics at Amouli, Tafuna and Leone for after hours, from 4p.m. to 7p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in December where parents can bring in their child for vaccination.
While the school and village vaccination sites are mostly open from 8a.m. to 4p.m. there are certain dates when sites are only open half day and DoH will issue reminders as the vaccination dates near.
DoH can be reached at 219 for more information and any new updates to the vaccination schedule.
Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua said towards the end of the news conference that the vaccination drive for the Manu’a island group is set for Dec. 16th and Dec. 17th.