29 Mar 2019

Training and preparation underway in Samoa for restart of MMR vaccinations

6:09 pm on 29 March 2019

UNICEF has been working with Samoa's Ministry of Health to prepare health professionals and families for the restart of the measles, mumps and rubella or MMR vaccinations.

no caption

Photo: AFP

The immunisation programme was suspended for several months after the deaths of two children last July following their MMR vaccinations.

Pacific Representative Sheldon Yett said public hesitancy was understandable after such an event, but active outreaches and community education was underway to try and lift the immunisation rates in Samoa.

He said the Samoan government was very eager to get the MMR vaccinations back up and running as current international measles outbreaks mean the introduction of the disease to the country could be just a plane ride away.

"We were working with our colleagues there to ensure that there was refresher training given to health staff on good immunisation practise, standard safety procedures, effective vaccine management and storage.

"We are also working with communities to ensure that they understand the need to get their children vaccinated as quickly as possible."

Sheldon Yett said supplies of the MMR vaccinations were available in Samoa for a planned re-start of the programme in early April.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs