COVID vaccinations may be opened up to more people soon

COVID vaccination at the UOG Fieldhouse (PNC file photo)

According to the Department of Public Health and Social Services, COVID-19 vaccines may be opening up to more people soon.

DPHSS director Art San Augustin spoke with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo Monday morning about Guam’s vaccination efforts.

Guam is currently ranked 4th in the nation as far as the percentage of its population that’s received at least the first shot of the COVID vaccine.

Guam has had 51,300 doses delivered and 37,750 shots given. This means Guam has used 74% of the doses that it’s received.

With such a high vaccination rate, many may be wondering when vaccinations will be opened to more people.

San Augustin said that vaccinations may open up to a new category in one to two weeks.

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He said that even though Guam has had great success in vaccinating the most vulnerable, they also need to look at the supply of vaccines on island.

“The vaccination committee also looks at our supply…and want to make sure we take care of our first and of course our second doses. Those critically are needed. And so we will then work with the committee..based on our vaccine supply,” San Agustin said.

San Augustin said that because at this point Guam doesn’t have enough vaccines for everyone, it’s unlikely that the eligibility would drop as low as 20 years of age any time soon.

But opening up vaccinations to people 50 years old and older is a possibility.

San Agustin said the Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Policy Committee will meet to discuss the possibility of expanding eligibility today.

“That’s really something we do as a committee, and we are set for a meeting this afternoon, and different considerations are placed before the committee, in terms of sub-groups that we would consider that would be added on to the existing groups,” San Agustin said.

San Agustin also briefly spoke about the Public Health Rapid Engagement Team’s outreach at the Hemlani Apartments in Merizo.

He said that due to some positive COVID results in the area, the Rapid Engagement Team went to the apartment complex preemptively to see if there’s any cause for concern.

“With regards to Hemlani, there have been some cases, more recently, so they’re going down there to offer testing … just to get a feel in terms of how things are down there at the Hemlani Apartment complex and that may lead to further investigation for any potential positives that are identified there,” San Agustin said.