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Caretaker PM Tuilaepa first to receive COVID-19 vaccination in Samoa

Caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi receiving the first injection of the 2-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Sources: Samoa govt media release & Samoa Global News

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Covid-19 vaccination program started, Sunday (yesterday Samoa time) with caretaker Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi the first to receive his initial injection of the 2-dose Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Asked at the launch if he would be first to receive the vaccination, Tuilaepa offered a lighthearted joke that he wanted to wait and be injected together with FAST party leader, Hon Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

 “Ou te manao lava e tui faatasi maua ma Fiame”.

The crowd appreciated that light hearted joke in view of Samoa’s headlock General Election Results of a 25-25 tie between HRPP and FAST.

However when asked if this could be a possibility for the two leaders to jointly receive the vaccine as a confidence boost to the nation, CEO of MPMC Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo said the program for Samoa is already set.

“Faafetai mo le manatu, taoto mai sei faagaioi le polokalame e pei ona fofoga ai le atunuu i vaega e lua ua vaevaeina ai le tuiga”.

Sunday at the launch of the vaccination program, the caretaker Minister of Health Faimalotoa Kika Stowers was next after the Prime Minister to receive her vaccination, taking the lead to be vaccinated for the coronavirus which has claimed over 3 million lives and affected over 140 million people around the globe to date.

AstraZeneca is a two-dose vaccine approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and distributed by the COVAX facility and its partners. COVAX is co-led by CEPIGavi and WHO, alongside key delivery partner UNICEF.

Samoa received 24,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 last Friday 9th April and joins Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Nauru and Tuvalu, in rolling out national vaccination programmes.

Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo and the Director General of Health assured the nation of the NEOC’s commitment to maintain the health of safety of Samoa throughout the global pandemic, including the rolling out of vaccines.

The AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been linked to rare cases of blood clotting and although various countries did temporarily suspend its use, many resumed saying the benefits far outweighed the losses.

Read more at Samoa Global News