12 Mar 2004

Samoa claims success in recent immunisation drive

3:00 pm on 12 March 2004

Samoa's director of public health says last year's mass immunisation campaign against rubella and measles following the outbreak there has achieved very high coverage levels.

At least three children died in an outbreak of measles and rubella in Samoa last year, prompting the government to launch a mass immunisation campaign with World Health Organisation support.

Dr Nu'ualofa Tu'Au Pu'utoi, who's attending an immunisation conference in Auckland this week, says the campaign achieved 95 percent coverage - high by world standards.

"So we had our identified target population which is young, from one year to 18 years, both boys and girls, in school and out of school, and we've had about 95 percent coverage of that immunisation campaign on measles and rubella."

Dr Nu'ualofa Tu'Au Pu'utoi says a key message of the conference has been the need for immunisation campaigns to include communications budgets to convince the community and policy makers of their high benefit to cost ratio.