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Samoa Shutting Down Government To Combat Measles Outbreak

Anti-vaxxers had pushed Samoa's vaccination rate down to under 30%.

A medical mishap in 2018 where two babies died from an incorrectly mixed vaccine is seen as the primary cause for Samoa's plummeting vaccine rate. Other countries in the area, including New Zealand, are around 99% and have not seen an outbreak. In a place with only a population of around 200,000, there have been a reported 3728 cases. The woman in the video above has lost three children to measles.

Source: Washington Post

Samoa announced it would shut down its government for two days so that public officials can combat a dangerous measles outbreak that has killed 53 people and infected 3,728.

The Pacific island nation has raced to vaccinate its children and other residents since an outbreak was declared on Oct. 16. Its youngest citizens are at the greatest risk, as 48 of the deaths so far have been children under the age of 4.

On Sunday, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi announced that “all public service and all government services will be closed” on Dec. 5 and 6 “in order to allow all public servants to assist with the mass vaccination campaign throughout the country.”

And more details, from the Associated Press:

Samoa’s government said Monday that another five children had died within the past day from a measles outbreak, bringing the death toll from the epidemic to more than 50 as authorities race to vaccinate the entire population.

Samoa declared a national emergency last month and mandated that all 200,000 people living on the South Pacific island nation get vaccinated. The government has closed all schools and banned children from public gatherings.

In all, 53 people have died in the outbreak since late October, including one adult and two older teenagers. Most of those who have died have been babies and young infants, including 23 children aged less than 1 and 25 children aged between 1 and 4.
Figures from the World Health Organization and UNICEF indicate that fewer than 30% of Samoan infants were immunized last year. That low rate was exacerbated by a medical mishap that killed two babies who were administered a vaccine that had been incorrectly mixed, causing wider delays and distrust in the vaccination program.

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