Samoan infants exposed to MMR1 as vaccinations are suspended

Members of the Commission of Inquiry (from the right), Senior Medical practitioner, Leo’o Dr. John Adams, Senior Nurse Lealai’auloto Lia’i Iosefa Si’itia and retired World Court Judge, Tuiloma Neroni Slade talking with the Manager of National Health Services, Tupuimatagi Palanitina Toelupe during recess

By Rula Su’a Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2018: Over 400 Samoan infants are exposed to Mumps, Measles and Rubella as the MMR vaccinations continue to be suspended for two over months now.

The Manager of the National Health Services, Tupuimatagi Palanitina Toelupe raised concern with the Commission of Inquiry now investigating the processes and policies surrounding the MMR vaccinations following the death of two babies last July.

She was particularly concerned about the continuing exposure to travelers into the country.

“The threat of someone coming into Samoa and carrying the disease is our main concern,” said Tupuimatagi.

“It will no doubt spread and affect our children as Mumps, Measles and Rubella is contagious,” she explained.

“While we are talking, we are worried that it is bound to happen, and it will be beyond our control.”

Statistics shows, there are 428 infants that should be vaccinated with MMR 1 since the vaccine was suspended because of the death of two 1 month olds at Safotu hospital last July. There are 114 infants in Savaii and 320 in Upolu.

“These babies are exposed to the disease and are under threat.”

The Commission started its investigations yesterday. It is looking at policies surrounding the death of the two babies after receiving their MMR1 vaccination at Safotu District Hospital and related circumstances in order to assess the standards and procedures within the Ministry.

The inquiry started its investigations yesterday and continues today.

The Commission is chaired by former World Court Judge, Tuiloma Neroni Slade and members include Senior Nurse Lealai’auloto Lia’i Iosefa Si’itia and Senior Medical practitioner, Leo’o Dr. John Adams.