December 07, 2019
Samoa measles deaths spark Auckland vaccination surge
A south Auckland GP says there has been a surge of interest in measles vaccination here as awareness of the outbreak in Samoa grows.
In New Zealand there have been 2144 confirmed cases of measles this year, 1708 in Auckland.
In Samoa there have already been more than 4000 cases since the start of the outbreak last year, and 62 deaths.
The Samoan government has ordered a state of emergency and shut down the country for two days so mobile medical teams can visit people in need of vaccinations at their homes.
Matire Harwood from Papakura Marae hauora says there has been a surge of parents and whanau coming in to her clinic either to get themselves or their children vaccinated or to confirm their immunity.
"We've got a lot of whanau who've got whanau back in Samoa and the islands and want to either bring people back here to care for them in this tragic time or go and visit. Measles does kill people. It kills our young children, it kills our babies, and vaccinating against this illness will prevent these deaths from happening," Dr Harwood says.
Vaccination programmes in Samoa were set back by the deaths through the administration of the wrong drug to two babies last year, but at the time of the outbreak only about 31 percent of the population was vaccinated.
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