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Update: Vaccinations for children 5-11 begin today at Tafuna Health Center

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With a shipment of COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old now on island, the Health Department (DoH) is launching this week for two-days a week, vaccination for this age group, as the government pushes a for vaccination rate of 90% or higher for the territory’s eligible population.

This is according to the DoH news conference last Friday afternoon, where it was also announced that all 261 travelers from the Nov. 1st flight from Honolulu have been released from quarantine while the positive case — on that same flight — remains in isolation at the DoH Alternate Care Facility (ACF) in Tafuna.

The main focus of the DoH news conference — live streamed on KVZK-TV’s Facebook page — was to officially announce the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 - 11 years.

DoH’s Dr. Faiese Talafu said that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for this age group is now on island and vaccinations will be held on Mondays — starting today, Nov. 15th — and Wednesdays from 8a.m to 2p.m. at the Tafuna Health Center.

She said this is the only site for vaccination of this age group, and explained that “because this is a new vaccination for our children and our children are young,” DoH made the decision for this location only “so we can... evaluate the children and look out for the children for any side effects” with medical team at the health center to monitor them.

To parents and legal guardians, “we encourage you to bring the children in so they can be protected from COVID-19 if it comes onto our island,” Dr. Talafu said, and noted that vaccination for this age group will help increase the territory’s 90% percent vaccination rate.

DoH plans to conduct awareness programs explaining to parents the importance of getting their children vaccinated as well as issues relating to side-effects.

LBJ Hospital Chief Pediatrician Dr. Maria Guyapa, said in a news conference earlier this month that the side affects of the COVID vaccine among children “are very mild.”

“It starts from a simple sore on the injection-site, or redness of the skin, to slight fever, or low-rate fever, to body aches. These symptoms don’t need to be treated — they go away on their own,” she explained and encouraged families/parents to get children in this age group “vaccinated and get them protected.”

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also released information on possible side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine — covering all eligible populations including the age group 5 to 11 years old.

CDC page for info:[].

In a separate health advisory, DoH said vaccinations would be administered at the Prenatal Clinic at the Tafuna Health Center. Like regular immunization visits, children’s vitals will be checked before getting vaccinated and children will be monitored after receiving their shots.

Additionally, parents and legal guardians may spend 30-40 minutes during their visit to the clinic with their children. And parents/legal guardians of children under the age of 18 will be required to sign a consent form, and they are requested to bring proof of guardianship.

Upon request, DoH said it would provide letters addressed to the employers of parents/guardians’ as proof of their attendance at their children’s vaccination.

For the age group of 12 years and older, COVID-19 vaccination and boosters are being administered at the A.P Lutali Executive Officer Building in Utulei and the DYWA Gym in Tafuna on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays from 8a.m. to 12p.m.

DoH along with the governor and the COVID-19 Task Force continues to urge those not yet vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. Anyone with questions may call the DoH hotline at 219.


Also covered during the news conference last Friday was an update on the 262 passengers who arrived on the Nov. 1st flight from Honolulu with DoH’s Dr. Fiona Trail — who oversees the quarantines site — reconfirming the one-positive case and that the traveler was immediately take into isolation.

Additionally, the traveler — who is fully vaccinated and traveled alone — is doing well and remains in isolation for 14-days, at the DoH Alternate Care Facility in Tafuna.

For the rest of the 261 travelers, they remained in strict quarantine until after their third and final test conducted on day-10 of quarantine, which was last week Thursday. The final test was done in the morning and all came back negative and they were released later that day.

“All travelers who were in quarantine have had their physical exams and are deemed healthy and were released from quarantine in high spirits,” said Dr. Trail, noting that the quarantine sites are now being prepared for the Nov. 18th flight from Honolulu.