MMR1 vaccine suspension uplifted with new conditions

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2018: The Minister of Health and Acting Prime Minister, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama has confirmed that the suspension of MMR1 vaccinations for 1 year old babies has been uplifted.

Tuitama told Talamua that the National Health Services Board is concerned about the extended exposure of infants to measles, mumps and rubella diseases if the vaccine continues to be on hold pending investigations.

“We cannot continue to put a hold on the vaccines because if anything happens, it could be very bad for us, especially our children who are vulnerable to these diseases.”

All MMR1 injections were put on hold by the Ministry of Health following the deaths of two year old babies at Safotu District hospital in July this year after receiving their MMR1 injections.

Two nurses have been charged as a result of the deaths.

As the vaccinations recommence, Tuitama has assured the parents and the public that the vaccines are very safe.

“What happened to the babies could be because of the service. But we do not know at this stage because investigations are continuing.”

The decision to reconvene the MMR immunizations now come with new conditions.

According to Tuitama, before a child is injected with MMR1 or any other immunization injection, it will be done in the presence of a doctor after obtaining parental consent.

“Only nurses who are well trained with administering the injections will do it, in the presence of a medical doctor,” said the Minister.

“And unless there is consent from parents, babies will be immunized accordingly, no consent no injection.”

Tuitama also added that there will be better programs to consolidate the safety of children.

Health statistics show that there are 428 infants that should be vaccinated with MMR 1 since the vaccine was suspended last July. There are 114 infants in Savaii and 320 in Upolu.