Up until now, measles had taken 53 Samoan children. Despite the vaccination effort, the death toll might increase. (Image via ABC News - Go.com)
Samoan government closed amid measles outbreakIn order to mitigate the measles outbreak in the Southern Pacific country, the Samoan government decided to shut down its government services from 5 December to 6 December. The Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, said that the government would also dispatch its civil servants to assist in vaccination campaigns.
Since its first announcement on 16 October until now, the measles outbreak had killed 53 people, 48 of them were kids under 4 years old and infected more than 3,700 unvaccinated Samoans.
The infection spread so rapidly by mid-November that the government declared a state of emergency. On Sunday, almost 200 new cases of measles were reported in the last 24 hours. Therefore, the Samoan government decided to close schools and forbid children from public gatherings. Subsequently, more vaccination campaigns will be reinforced.
According to the press secretary of the Samoan PM Office, Nanai Laveitiga Tuiletufuga, since 20 November, more than 58,000 Samoans had been vaccinated.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that only 31 percent of Samoan children are vaccinated in 2018. The number declined than 60 – 70 percent in previous years and the highest was 90 percent in 2013. It might have been due to the paranoia caused by the tragic deaths of two infants after being injected with the MMR vaccine. Some Samoans then blamed the vaccines.
Turned out, the investigation announced that two medical practitioners wrongly prepared the vaccine, mixing it with a muscle relaxant. One even tried to cover it up by bringing home the muscle relaxant’s bottle. The two medical practitioners were charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 5-year imprisonment in August 2019.
However, still, Samoans’ trust for its healthcare and vaccination had decreased critically.