Rare condition suspected in Samoa children who died after MMR vaccinations
Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — Two children who died after being immunised in Samoa are suspected to have had a rare life-threatening immunodeficiency disorder.
Their parents decided to speak publicly after media reports on their deaths after being given the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) in Samoa.
A one-year-old girl died within a few minutes of being vaccinated. Two hours later, another one-year-old died. Authorities are investigating the deaths.
Karl and Christine Laulu told TVNZ they were devastated to hear of those deaths. In April, the Laulus lost their daughter Alana-Rae, who had been taken from Samoa to Starship Hospital in Auckland. Two years earlier, they lost their son Jamie Ray. Both had been given the MMR vaccine.
They said experts discovered their daughter may have had a rare life-threatening immunodeficiency. It was likely her brother did too.
"Once the MMR injection was given to them, their bodies went into hypodrive," Karl Laulu told TVNZ. "Children are supposed to be the ones that put the parents to rest. So unfortunate to have this happen."
Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, of the University of Auckland's Immunisation Advisory Centre said the Laulus' case was very separate from what happened last week.
"There are people who shouldn't receive the MMR vaccine," she said, noting New Zealand has established pre-screening checks to ensure the vaccine is only given to suitable candidates.