10 Jul 2018

Samoa PM wants inquiry into infant deaths

7:55 am on 10 July 2018

The Prime Minister of Samoa has called for an inquiry into the deaths of two one-year-old infants after they were injected with the MMR vaccine at Savaii's Safotu hospital last Friday.

The vaccine provides protection from measles, mumps and rubella.

The police are investigating the deaths as the Ministry of Health conducts its own inquiry.

The Director General of Health, Leausa Take Naseri, said the vaccination programme had been called off until the completion of the investigations.

Leausa Take Naseri

Leausa Take Naseri Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavai Tipi Autagavai

"We have requested a forensic autopsy, post-mortem on the two babies because it's a police case. It's now also a very different case in the health field," he said.

"We need to look at the cause. We need to find out if the drug was maintained at the appropriate levels."

The nurses who vaccinated the infants have been removed from Safotu for their own safety, Dr Naseri said.

"We're also concerned for the safety of our workers especially the nurses who were involved because it's now easily blamed - the finger is pointed towards the nurses," he said.

In a statement, Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, extended condolences to the grieving parents.