Marcelina Samaniego, 64, walks to work because she doesn't have a car, and this was the reason she got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine only a day after Liberation Day, she said.

It was only by word of mouth that she found out there was a vaccination clinic at the Micronesia Mall, where she works.

"I live at the Liguan Terrace so I only walk to Micronesia Mall to work. It's hard to go somewhere to get vaccinated and I didn't know about this vaccination until today," Samaniego said Thursday, during her lunch break that she spent getting her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

There are many others like Samaniego who are getting their vaccination only this week, for a host of reasons.

More than 100,000 vaccinations were administered at the University of Guam Calvo Field House, by the Guam National Guard.

The government also offered incentives such as a chance to win $10,000 cash or a new car each week for six weeks leading up to Liberation Day, to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

In a last-ditch effort to fully vaccinate 80% of the adult population by July 21, the Department of Public Health and Social Services launched its Liberation Day immunization clinic at the Micronesia Mall on Wednesday, and extended it through Saturday with even more incentives including $20 Shell gas coupons.

The Micronesia Mall vaccination clinic is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Still, Guam missed its goal when it reached only 78.9% or 94,715 vaccinated adults on Liberation Day, or 1,316 short of the target of 96,031.

The governor will lift more pandemic restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. a day after the 80% herd immunity goal is reached.

500 gas coupons

At the Micronesia Mall clinic that DPHSS runs, the first 500 to be vaccinated will receive a $20 Shell gas coupon, while supplies last.

While Samaniego got only her first dose and was not eligible yet for a gas coupon, she didn't leave the vaccination clinic empty-handed. She received a box of 50 face masks, as part of the COVID-19 prevention effort.

Michelle Leon Guerrero, DPHSS immunization program manager, said they vaccinated 76 individuals at the Micronesia Mall on Liberation Day.

"Today seems busier than yesterday," Leon Guerrero said Thursday.

That's because in just the first hour of the vaccination clinic Thursday, from 11 a.m. to noon, about 33 doses were administered.

"That's about half of what we had for seven hours on Wednesday," she said.

Leon Guerrero said there are 500 gas vouchers available. That's equivalent to $10,000 worth of gas.

Chelsa Kauka, 14, was happy to get a $20 gas voucher and a box of masks after she received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the mall Thursday.

"I'm too young to drive so my mom will use it for us," she said.

Her mother, Brenda Kauka, 46, said she got fully vaccinated in June and wanted her children to also get protection from the virus, plus both will be going back to face-to-face classes next month.

Leon Guerrero echoed other public officials' calls for more vaccination, to help Guam reach 80% herd immunity and reopen the economy.

Besides DPHSS, other agencies involved in the Micronesia Mall vaccination clinic include the Guam National Guard, the Guam Fire Department, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Leon Guerrero said. 

Amy De Leon, 48, brought her daughter Chelsea, 14, to Micronesia Mall on Thursday, to get her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, in time for the new school year.

"I want her to be safer especially at school,"  Amy De Leon said, adding that they have plans to travel soon so having the whole family fully vaccinated will allow them to skip quarantine.

Haidee Eugenio Gilbert


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