13 Mar 2004

Samoa immunisation campaign achieves 95 per cent coverage of young

9:31 am on 13 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.

"We've had our identified target population, which is the young from one year to eighteen years of age, both boys and girls, in schools and out of school, and we have had 95% coverage of that mass immunisation campaign against 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.