More residents will be able to get free COVID-19 vaccination shots as Guam received some 53,170 additional doses over the weekend, officials said at a Monday morning virtual proclamation signing, during which Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero announced the post-travel quarantine requirement could be lifted by May 1.
Some 30,000 adult residents still need to be fully vaccinated between now and May for tourism to reopen, as part of the administration's "Path to Half" goal.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people may travel at low risk but still recommends staying home.
But the CDC's recent guidelines on full vaccination and travel also defer to the protocols that states and territories are implementing, the governor said.
Guam, she said, will continue to require a negative PCR test prior to travel to the island at least until May 1.
"May 1st, we will probably change our quarantine protocols. It will be more likely that we would require a negative PCR test and then they can go home or go about with their business but they would be required to on the Sara alert and also COVID alert," the governor said.
Department of Public Health and Social Services Director Art San Agustin, meanwhile, said Guam received the following vaccine doses over the weekend, for the department's COVID-19 vaccination program, and the department and Adelup later clarified that the total is 53,170:
• 1,300 doses of Johnson & Johnson Janssen, April 3
• 25,740 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, April 4
• 15,000 doses of Moderna, April 4
Public Health also received on April 3 the following doses for its satellite clinics, San Agustin said:
• 4,680 doses for the Southern Region Community Health Center
• 6,450 doses for Northern Region Community Center
As of April 3, there are 32,177 Guamanians who have been fully vaccinated, according to the Joint Information Center.
Free vaccination continues this week at the University of Guam Calvo Field House from Tuesday to Saturday, and at the Asan mayor's office on Friday.
The governor is anticipating reopening Guam's tourism if half, or 62,500, of Guam's population over age 16 are fully vaccinated by May 1.
But before booking one's flight to return to Guam, the governor's main advice is to wait for further announcements for new travel protocols.
National Public Health Week
San Agustin and the governor shared the information during Monday morning's question-and-answer at the virtual signing of a proclamation declaring April 5 to 9 as National Public Health Week, with some 90 participants via Zoom.
This year's theme is Building Bridges to Better Health, based on the concept that "we may be physically distant from each other but now it's more important more than ever to come together," San Agustin said.
San Agustin said the COVID-19 pandemic has made Guam's community health, environmental health and welfare programs and services even more important.
He thanked all of Public Health's staff and management who have "stepped up to respond to the pandemic." He also thanked Public Health's partners in the community for making DPHSS' response to the pandemic even stronger.
While work continues to address COVID-19 and other issues, Public Health also needs to constantly prepare for future challenges, and San Agustin said one way of ensuring this is by funding DPHSS "adequately."
The governor, a registered nurse, echoed San Agustin's sentiments, while also commending Public Health for all its work responding to the pandemic.
"Over one year ago. We began the long struggle against COVID-19. We have had our resolve tested, our capacity strengthened and our willingness to put others before ourselves. Through it all we survived and we did so in part because of the men and women at the Department of Public Health and Social Services," the governor said.
She said if Guam learned anything from COVID-19, it is the importance of ensuring that the island has accessible, affordable and available health care.
The governor shared plans to build a medical complex inclusive of a Public Health facility, expanding health care treatment options.
The health care system also needs to shift focus from treatment to prevention, she said,
"We all agree many people prolong seeking help because of the cost of health care. As I stated in my State of the Island Address, health care should not be a luxury. It is a basic human right," the governor said. "My team is actively working in how we can make health care affordable for all."
The governor extended the public health state of emergency for another month to May 1.