Samoa to roll out Covid vaccination programme when time is right

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has reassured the public that no one will be left behind, when the Government rolls out the Covid- vaccination programme in the near future.

The Government’s reassurance follows confirmation that Australia will be contributing $10 million tala (AUD$4million) to ensure that Samoa is protected from the virus through the Covid Access Initiative for the Pacific.

“Ensuring countries in our region can quickly recover from the health and economic impacts of this devastating global pandemic is vital to ensuring our shared economic future in the post-pandemic world,” says a joint media statement issued by Joint media release Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke and Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health.

Savali Newspaper reports a fast, safe vaccine rollout in the Pacific and Southeast Asia will mean Samoa is able to return to more normal travel, tourism and trade with its key partners in the region.

This initiative is separate from, and additional to, Australia’s ongoing international development assistance budget.

The funding complements Australia’s support for global efforts to help our region to access vaccines, including through the COVAX Facility and its Advance Market Commitment (AMC) for developing countries. Australia has already committed $123.2 million to the COVAX Facility to secure access to vaccines for Australians and help bring down prices for all countries, and has contributed $80 million to the Facility’s AMC for the benefit of high-risk populations in developing countries.

New Zealand is also offering assistance for her Pacific neighbors and friends including Samoa.

NZ’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced recently that government is preparing to support its Pacific partners to access Covid-19 vaccines.

Mahuta confirmed $75 million of Official Development Assistance had been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out.

In recent months, when international news indicated a soon to be ready Covid-19 vaccine, Government had taken appropriate actions to solicit assistance from the international community and her development partners to ensure Samoa is included in the priority recipient countries.

For a smooth coordination, implementation and to ensure funding is secured, Government has tasked the Health Programme Advisory Committee, (H.P.A.C.) chaired by Chief Executive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peseta Naomi Simi to take the lead.

And Prime Minister Tuilaepa and Cabinet eagerly awaits the latest report from H.P.A.C.

Now that countries including neighboring American Samoa and French Polynesian have started their respective Covid-19 counter measures via the vaccinations, “Samoa is not far behind,” promises Prime Minister Tuilaepa.

“Our cautious approach is to ensure that the lives of our people are not put at risk,” he continued. “In due time, Government will roll out the vaccination when the timing is right. It’s a tiring process but well worth the time considering lives are on the line.”