The Samoan Government has announced a compulsory mass measles vaccination campaign, making receiving immunizations a mandatory legal requirement, following 15 confirmed deaths from the disease.
Officials say the outbreak was entirely predictable given the country’s low vaccination rate, which is in part due to the fact that the MMR vaccine caused at least two deaths the previous year.
The two children, a boy and a girl, were both aged about 12 months. They were not related, came from different communities and were vaccinated in July 2018 using the same batch of the MMR vaccine.
In August, both nurses were sentenced to five years in prison. During the sentencing hearing, it was confirmed that one of the nurses mixed the MMR vaccine powder with expired muscle relaxant anaesthetic instead of water for injection supplied in a vial with the vaccine.
There have also been media reports of two other deaths of Samoan siblings on separate occasions more than a week after MMR vaccination – these deaths occurred in 2017 and April 2018. A very rare genetic immune disorder is expected to have contributed to the death of the second sibling, who died in New Zealand. It is suspected that the first sibling had the same disorder. The family are undergoing genetic testing.
Now, it’s illegal to not get the vaccine and subject one’s self and children to the risks that have just recently killed four children.
The insert for the MMR vaccine includes a two-page list of adverse reactions ranging from fever, headache, and irritability up to encephalitis, measles, and death. This has been reinforced by thousands of reports to the vastly under-reported VAERS.
Measles is typically not a deadly disease and symptoms should be mild for 2-3 weeks in healthy people. Treatment of ample hydration and vitamin A will reduce symptoms and risk of long-term effects.