Thousands take part in Samoa mass Covid-19 vaccination drive

Samoa's government orders two-day lockdown to roll out a mass Covid-19 vaccination drive. September 2021 Photo: RNZ Pacific/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Today is the second and final day of lockdown in Samoa with health authorities going door to door to administer Covid-19 vaccines.

Around 7000 doses of AstraZeneca were administered on Thursday as part of the two-day roll out.

Despite the strict lockdown, from 8am to 6pm, it is not compulsory to get vaccinated. Those willing to have the jab have been instructed to place red flags at the entrance to their dwellings.

Our correspondent in Apia, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia said he saw a lot of people getting into the spirit of things.

“I have seen so many red flags in front of people’s houses, that means there’s quite a number of people need to be vaccinated. And I think their (government’s) door to door programme was working. But it is not a compulsory mass vaccination so that means people have the choice whether to take the vaccine or not,” Autagavaia said.

According to the World Health Organisation up until 9 September, Samoa had administered over 142,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine with over 25 percent of the country’s eligible population fully vaccinated.

Local authorities aim for the two-day mass vaccination drive is to try and administer 20,000 doses.

This would bring Samoa close to 100 percent of the eligible population having received one dose.

The mass vaccination drive effort also comes as some of Samoa’s AstraZeneca stocks are due to expire at the end of October.

As of 2019 Samoa’s total population was just under 200,000.

Resource: RNZ