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WIC, Food Stamps only serving those who are vaccinated — for now

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Tent services are suspended, along with DOH measles screening at the Utulei site

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Until the weather improves — and for the safety of the general public — the Department of Human and Social Services (DHSS) will suspend providing tent services for those who have not received updated MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) shots.

Moreover, because of this reason, the Department of Health (DOH) has suspended screening for measles protection outside of the American Samoa Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamp) and the American Samoa Women, Infants & Children (WIC) buildings in Utulei. 

This is according to a media release disseminated yesterday and signed by DHSS director Muavaefaatasi John Suisala., which notes that until further notice, the ASNAP and ASWIC will only serve individuals and clients with updated vaccinations, and those who bring proof of vaccination when they come in for services. 

Tents have been set up at the DHSS compound in Utulei since the Declaration of Continued Public Health Emergency was issued by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga on Dec. 8, 2019. In accordance, local clients of the WIC and food stamp programs are required to provide proof of immunization prior to them being allowed to enter the office to pick up their benefits.

Otherwise, they are to remain seated under the tent outside, where they will be served.

In an initial interview late last year, Muavaefaatasi told Samoa that under the governor’s emergency declaration, only those who can provide proof of immunization (14-days prior) are permitted to enter the DHSS office. “We aren’t turning anyone away though,” he said. “Those who cannot show proof of being immunized are being served outside, under the tent.”

He continued, “We are just following the provisions set forth under the governor’s emergency declaration.”

For further information, please call the ASNAP office at 633-7720 and the ASWIC at 633-2610. 

DHSS thanks the community for their understanding and support.