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Samoa considers cash rewards to get up Covid-19 vaccination rates

Wednesday 12 January 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in

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Samoa considers cash rewards to get up Covid-19 vaccination rates
Samoa Health Director Leausa Dr Take Naseri Photo: Samoa govt

Samoa is considering cash rewards to get people vaccinated as the country struggles to find ways to reach its target of 96 percent of the eligible population to be fully vaccinated.

The Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Committee, Agafili Shem Leo told a news conference a $50tālā measure is being discussed and funding has to be sourced before it can happen.

He added that all public servants will next month be required to show their vaccination cards as proof they are fully vaccinated.

He said the number of fully vaccinated people with the AstraZeneca vaccine remains at 86 percent and it is taking a long time to get the last 10 percent to reach the targeted 96 percent.

Director General of Health Leausa Dr Take Naseri said nothing has changed since the last mass vaccination rollout which was specifically for people to get second doses but less than 20,000 took advantage of that opportunity.

"So we need to see if it is worth getting another mass evacuation going again," he said.

The Samoa government's two-day national lockdown Covid-19 vaccination programme begins.
The Samoa government's two-day national lockdown Covid-19 vaccination programme begins. Photo: RNZ Pacific/Tipi Autagavaia

The Ministry of Health announced earlier in the week that all people using health services and facilities will be required to produce their vaccination cards before they can get any service.

Agafili said these measures will help achieve the government target of 96 percent of the eligible population to be administered the two doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

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

The latest MOH data indicated that 12,000 of eligible people above 17 years have yet to receive their second dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile the vaccination campaign with the Pfizer vaccine targeting children 12-17 years old continues with 6,817 of the eligible population, which includes pregnant and breast-feeding mothers, still to be fully vaccinated.

Leausa said that children 5 years and over will be eligible soon for the Pfizer vaccine.