Written by Tina Tofaeono, PROVISION
Our island has been blessed to not have Covid or the Delta variant on our beautiful shores. The Department of Health continues to increase awareness regarding vaccination, and at least 59.9% of our total population has received at least one dose and 53.1% are fully vaccinated  With our borders closed we feel safe, but those countries who have opened borders are concerned with new variants. Currently, the Delta variant is the most prominent strain of Covid-19 and has been reported in 96 countries.
The symptoms of the Delta variant appear to be the same as Covid-19. However, doctors are seeing people getting sick quicker. Typically, vaccinated people who contract the Delta Variant are either asymptomatic or have very mild. Their symptoms are like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever, or headache with the addition of loss of smell. Unfortunately, the Lambda variant, which is out of South American is also emerging.
With the Delta variant sweeping across our nation some experts are recommending wearing masks, even if you are fully vaccinated. Health experts are urging people that want to get back to a “normal” lifestyle to get vaccinated. If people remain unvaccinated, new strains of the virus will continue to develop and cause problems. They’re also advising vaccinated people to avoid large gatherings and to mask up indoors where the vaccination status of others is unknown. This is to protect yourself as well as anyone that is not vaccinated because there’s still so much unknown about this variant. Vaccination is the best protection against the variant and the FDA approved the first vaccine earlier this week. The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with a waiting period between the first and second shot. American Samoa has been offering vaccines, but we still have a long way to go.
Remember to protect yourself and your loved ones by having clean hands, wearing a mask (that covers your nose and your mouth at the same time), and that your hands are clean when putting on and taking off your mask. If you’re using a cloth mask, make sure to wash it regularly and dispose of any disposable face masks and continue to practice social distancing.
“If it is sunny out, people put sunscreen on as a precaution. If you are at a crowded gathering, potentially with unvaccinated people, put your mask on and keep your distance.” Says Dr. Yildirim.
Although we do not have COVID in our territory, we must act as if we do. It is up to us to do our part. We are a close-knit community, dedicated to our families and love for our villages and our churches. It’s common for us to greet one another with a kiss or a hug, but we need to be careful during this time. A simple head nod with a smile or even an elbow bump will have to do, during these changing times. This virus has taken many loved ones and like everything in life, this is an ongoing risk.
 First regular HA flight postponed—rescheduled Sept. 13—maybe. (Samoa News, 2021). Retrieved: https://www.samoanews.com/local-news/first-regular-ha-flight-postponed-rescheduled-sept-13-maybe
Written by staff or Alliance Partners