26 Nov 2019

Samoan clinic under investigation rejects govt claims

3:10 pm on 26 November 2019

A health clinic operated by three nurses in Samoa has accused the Ministry of Health of misinforming the public following allegations it provided measles vaccines without authorisation.

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Photo: 123rf

In a statement, the Agape Jal clinic said it had provided vaccinations over the past three weeks and met the current standards and protocols of the Ministry of Health and the agency, UNICEF.

That comes after the Ministry of Health announced it had launched an investigation into the alleged unauthorised use of vaccines, which led to 60 doses being destroyed for safety reasons.

The clinic's statement said the three nurses were registered and had over 90 combined years of experience in the public health system.

"Our clinic met and will continue to meet the universal standards and protocols for storage and administering vaccinations," the statement said.

Providing vaccinations was one of the "basic duties" that a registered nurse in Samoa could do, they said, and it was a professional service that nurses were qualified to provide.

It said its vaccines was issued by the Ministry of Health in October, and the clinic charged $US14 for any service it provided - the vaccination itself was free.

The clinic opened two months ago, and remains open for the provision of regular services.

Yesterday, Samoa's Director General Of Health, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, initially said 6000 vaccine doses had been destroyed but the ministry today released a statement attributing that to a "slip of [the] tongue" during a press conference.

Meanwhile, Samoa's measles epidemic has claimed the lives of 32 people.

All but four of the deaths are children under the age of four.

Since yesterday, 243 cases of the disease have been recorded, with 176 people currently in hospital.

The government said 24,000 people had so far been immunised in a compulsory mass vaccination campaign launched under a state of emergency.

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