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Latest death in Samoa comes after parents hid child from vaccinators

Measles epidemic logo
Sources: RNZI,Samoa Govt,Newsline Samoa

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, has urged parents not to hide their children from vaccinators or refuse to have them vaccinated.

That comes after the death of a baby from Moto'otua, who had allegedly been hidden during the recent door-to-door vaccination campaign.

The Samoa Observer quotes Tuilaepa saying the family had depended on a traditional healer in their household and that was why the child had not been vaccinated.

He was disappointed there were still children who had not been immunized - despite the mass vaccination campaign and government efforts to combat the epidemic.


An 11-month-old American Samoa baby suspected to have measles has been given the all clear, as the number of cases in the territory remains at 10.

The baby was admitted two weeks ago to the LBJ Hospital with symptoms of measles.

Department of Health epidemiologist Aifili Dr John Tufa told KHJ News two other cases of possible measles were sent to Honolulu as a precaution, and also came back negative.

Dr Tufa said there are currently no suspected measles cases at the hospital.


The Prime Minister believes the worst is past in the measles epidemic, when he accepted a $300,000 donation from the EFKS Church on Thursday at his office.

The vaccination campaign emergency run of recent weeks has eased up into a mop up sweep, to give injections to people who missed out and risk continuing the epidemic.

The EFKS, Methodist and the Seventh Day Adventists are among the leading denominations to contribute so far to the measles appeal fund.

The PM continued on a positive note on how the tragedy of the measles epidemic is a valuable learning experience for improving our health services in the future.

 Medical team members from first hand experience who were involved in a rotational help service working with local health staff voiced the same feedback.

Mention was given to traditional medicine and of the trust and the belief many have in their herbal and massaging remedies.

Traditional healers have long been accepted as an option for people seeking relief from ill health instead of formal medicine.

“But measles is a disease that requires injection of the vaccine to fight it and that is why we were very vulnerable as a country to the virus.”

Tuilaepa, did not go into the low vaccination coverage in Samoa that has been largely blamed for the rapid spread of the measles outbreak.

Read more on this at Newsline Samoa


The death toll from the Samoa measles epidemic remains at 79 with no new deaths in the past two days ending Monday (Samoa time).

The Ministry of Health confirms a total of 5,552 measles cases have been reported to the Disease Surveillance Team, since the outbreak started. There were 32 recorded in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 82 measles cases who are in-patients at all health facilities. Of this, 71 are at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital (TTMH), 1 at Lalomanu District Hospital, 2 at Faleolo, 4 at the Leulumoega Rural District Hospital, 2 at the Malietoa Tanumafili II Hospital (MTIIH), and 2 at Foailalo District Hospital. Admissions include 8 critically ill children and 2 adults in ICU/HDU, plus 3 pregnant women at the TTMH Maternity Ward.

The total number of measles cases admitted to all hospitals recorded for the outbreak to date is 1,795. Of that, 1,634 (91%) patients have been discharged.

To date, 79 measles related deaths have been recorded. There were no fatalities in the last 24 hours.


As of December 22, 2019, approximately 94% of all eligible people in Samoa have been vaccinated against measles.

NEOC continues to be the focal point providing collaboration and operational coordination amongst all stakeholders, with advice and technical guidance from MOH for the duration of the Emergency Period.

Please direct all enquiries to the National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) on telephone number 997, and 911 for Emergencies.