Restart vaccination programme in Samoa

Samoa’s health authorities are desperate for the whooping cough vaccination programme to resume.

Following the death of two babies, the programme was suspended in July and the nurses who administered the vaccinations have been stood down.

University of Auckland vaccinologist Dr Helen Petousis-Harris told NewsTalkZB in July that one death, let alone two, was extremely rare and there had never been a death associated with the MMR vaccine in New Zealand.

Petousis-Harris said although investigations were still continuing into what went wrong, there were two reasons that could have been factors in the deaths.

“One is that there’s been an error where the vaccine is prepared for the injection incorrectly and ultimately results in the wrong substance being injected.

“Or there’s been some sort of contamination due to the vaccine having been reconstituted and left at a room temperature for a really long period of time.

“The last thing you want is for people to be fearful of something that we know is actually incredibly safe.”

Immunisations have, however, been carried out by nurses since the 1970s, reports RNZ.

The Ministry of Health in Samoa told a commission of enquiry into the deaths that some children have been diagnosed with whooping cough as a result of the programme’s suspension.

As well as whooping cough, the programme includes vaccinating for measles, mumps and rubella.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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