Samoa considers lowering minimum age for COVID-19 vaccines

Samoa’s Ministry of Health is contemplating lowering the minimum age for eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ministry is also looking into immunizing new mothers against the deadly virus.

Director-General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, said they are looking at the possibility of vaccinating children starting from 12-years-old and breastfeeding mothers who have been breastfeeding for six months and over.

“The consideration to lower the minimum age relies on the arrival of promised Pfizer–BioNTech vaccines from the Government of New Zealand.”

“We have seen that with the arrival of that batch, we will be able to consider vaccinating those below 18 years, starting from 12-years-old. This vaccine is used by the United States and other countries vaccinating starting from those at the age of 12 to 18.”

Currently, vaccination, using the Oxford-AztraZeneca vaccine, is allowed for only those 18 years and over and excludes pregnant mothers and all breastfeeding mothers amongst other criteria.

Leasua added the public can expect an update on those discussions in about two to three weeks’ time.

Those who will not be vaccinated include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people who are bedridden, youth less than 18 years of age and those over 85 years old (optional).